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12 May 2012

Second Barn Owl tree nest found

A second Barn Owl tree nest has been located during the Duhallow Raptor Project. We had thought finding one (see post below) was terrific, but to find a second, only two kilometres from the first is quite extraordinary.

Had it not been for the owners of the property telling us of their owls, it might have gone unnoticed... below the tree there were only droppings and feathers of crows, which normally would suggest that the tree cavity might well be home to Jackdaws rather than owls. However, a single small white feather caught on the lip of the hole raised enough suspicion that there might be more to this tree. Also, the owners had seen Barn Owls flying around that part of their property as recently as two days previously.

The nest (circled) in a mature Sycamore tree (Photo: M.O'Clery).

There was a large cavity above the smaller, circular hole, though the Barn Owls only used the smaller opening. A single small white feather was the only physical clue to their presence (Photo: M.O'Clery).

We settled in for a dusk watch, and sure enough, to our great excitement, a Barn Owl emerged, stretched her wings, and started calling to it's mate. The male arrived, there was some calling between them, and she then returned to the nest. The behaviour of the pair would suggest she is sitting on eggs, and we will be watching to see how they get on. The eggs will take up to 30 days to hatch, and the chicks should be audible from outside the nest a week or two after that.