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2 August 2013

More Barn Owl ringing, more empty nests

Another six Barn Owl nest sites were visited today in Duhallow and east Kerry. The results were again very poor, with no chicks found. A summary of the sites is as follows:

• Old cottage in NE Kerry – 4 abandoned eggs, no adults present.
• Nest box in barn in NE Kerry – 2 adults present, 4 abandoned eggs in nest box.
• Nest in water tank in derelict farmhouse – 1 adult present nearby, no chicks.
• Derelict mansion, E kerry – 2 adults present, breeding status uncertain, needs further investigation.
• Nest box in derelict house, E Kerry – Adult male present, no chicks.
• Nest in ivy roots in barn in central Kerry – 1 adult present, no chicks.

This is turning out to be a dreadfully poor breeding season for Barn Owls. 5 chicks from a total of 17 nest sites visited  in the past 2 days – by far the lowest breeding numbers recorded since survey work began on the species in 2006. There are still a number of other sites to be visited, so hopefully some at least will have produced young.

This handsome adult male Barn Owl was caught and ringed at a nest site in E Kerry today. He was alone at the nest box in which three young fledged last year (Photo: M.O'Clery).

This poor year for Barn Owls is reflected in recent findings from the UK which is also experiencing a crash in breeding numbers. See this article in the Guardian Newspaper from yesterday HERE...