Mortality of young Barn Owls, like all bird species, is highest in the first few months of life. Unfortunately, we received news of the demise of one of three chicks, ringed at a tree nest site near Newmarket this summer. The young female was found dead near Kanturk yesterday, only about 10km from where she was born. The cause of death is unknown, but she had been dead for some time.
Young Barn Owl, after being ringed at the Newmarket site in July this year (M.O'Clery).
In studies in England, young Barn Owls rarely move more than a few tens of kilometres from their birthplace, but in Ireland we are only beginning to learn about their movements. We have already seen an unprecedented 80 km movement of a ringed, mature female in Duhallow (see this post HERE), and there has been a series of other unusual movements recorded so far in the national ringing scheme, so we have much to learn about how fledgling Barn Owls disperse from their nest sites in Ireland. The death of this bird will add a little more to out knowledge about their lives, and hopefully about how best to protect them into the future.