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11 August 2012

Ballyferriter female pairs up

The female Barn Owl from Ballyferriter, which was recently re-trapped at a site in Duhallow, has paired up with a male. After previously nesting successfully in 2011 at Ballyferriter, near Dingle, she was still present yesterday evening at her new site in the chimney of a disused cottage in Duhallow. The pair were seen to indulge in courtship feeding and mating at the site. 

A female Barn Owl, originally from Ballyferriter, now paired up and apparently nesting in Duhallow (Photo: M.O'Clery).

Had this behaviour been observed in spring, you would conclude that the pair were at the stage of laying eggs, but as it approaches mid-August could the new pair be really considering nesting this late? It's certainly possible. Fledged young have been recorded still at the nest as late as early December at one or two Irish sites, but it would be unusual. If they are just about to lay eggs now, the young wouldn't fledge until mid-November. It would be a high-risk strategy, as the young would need to become fully independent before the worst of the winter weather kicks in, but if the autumn and early winter prove mild and dry (and surely it can't get any wetter than this summer?) then they might just make it. We will be watching this site with great interest in the coming weeks.

You can read about re-trapping the female on this page HERE