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24 July 2012

Young Barn Owls disperse

The young owls, in the post below, seem to already have dispersed, just days after the discovery of the nest in an unfinished, new-build house. The chicks were almost adult-like on 19th July and by 23rd seemed to have already vacated the nest site, though one was now using the adult's roost site. Below, perhaps the last view of a chick at this nest this year. 

Barn Owl chick, Duhallow, 22nd July 2012 (Photos: F.O'Sullivan).

Where might this fledgling end up? Most will disperse to within 10 to 50 kilometres of their birthplace, but some might go further, and in theory, this young bird could turn up anywhere in Ireland. Barn Owls can breed at one year of age, but most will die before reaching that stage. Any number of possible threats await them, from collision with cars and overhead wires, to poisoning and starvation. It's a tough life out there, and only the hardiest (or luckiest) few will survive to breed next spring. Let's hope this one finds a good territory of his or her own and makes it through those difficult first months.