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6 August 2013

Empty nests

 We have been finding that many Barn Owl nests all over Duhallow, and elsewhere in the country have failed this summer, mainly due to the exceptionally cold spring. Here are two such sites, first a quarry in Duhallow, and below, an unusual nest in ivy roots inside a barn in Kerry.

The nest entrance in the limestone quarry face can be seen in the centre of the photo. The entrance hole leads to a chamber about a metre long and 40cm wide (photographed under licence: M.O'Clery).

Inside the nest chamber, only moulted Barn Owl feathers and pellets. Fresh signs of adults, but no chicks (photographed under licence: M.O'Clery).

An unusual nest site in the tangled roots of ivy which have grown down through a long-abandoned barn. Adult Barn Owls were present here, but we found four eggs, abandoned. The female was able to lay the eggs sometime in the spring but then didn't get sufficient food from the male to allow her to incubate them, thus had to leave to hunt for herself. The eggs would have chilled and failed to hatch (photographed under licence: M.O'Clery).