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6 March 2013

Owls for egrets

Part of the Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project involves installing ten Long-eared Owl nest baskets into suitable trees in Duhallow. These mimic the crows nests (usually Hooded Crow) in which the owls usually nest, and preliminary trials in Galway have already proved successful. However, the same techniques have just been used in Co. Kerry, in an experiment to see if Little Egrets might also take to the nest baskets. 

An ordinary metal garden hanging basket was used, and branches and twigs were interwoven to create a shallow, saucer-shaped nest. This is about the size of a normal Little Egret nest.

Three baskets were then placed high in an area of conifers overlooking an estuary. The site has been chosen as not only is it in a private garden (and is thus relatively secure), but has had up to ten Little Egrets roosting in these very trees over the past two winters. While Little Egrets would normally build their own nest, they won't be able to avoid seeing these three ready-made nest baskets, and hopefully they will decide that this is, after all, a perfect place to nest. Let the experiment begin...