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...