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8 April 2014

Duhallow Raptor Report 2012-13 now available to download

The Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project Report, 2012-13 is now available for free to download. It shows the results from the major two year project on Raptors in Duhallow, including detailed information on all the fieldwork, nest box and publicity aspects to the work.

Summary: In 2012 the Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project (2012 – 2013) was established to undertake innovative and strategic monitoring of Barn Owls, Long-eared Owls and Kestrels in Duhallow to further our understanding of their conservation requirements and to increase awareness and appreciation of their populations.

Some of the highlights of the Report include:

 Strategic work was undertaken in three 10 x 10km survey squares to determine densities of owl species. A density of 2.6 breeding pairs of Barn Owl per 100km2 was recorded -  higher than similar findings elsewhere in the country.

A buildings survey for Barn Owls in the three 10 x 10km survey squares found a site availability of 14.6 suitable buildings per 100km2 and located seven nest sites and 13 roost sites. 

 An innovative playback and acoustic survey was also employed for Long-eared Owl for the first time in Ireland. A total of six breeding sites and seven active territories were confirmed across the three survey squares, representing a minimum density of 4.3 Long-eared Owl territories per 100km2.  

The general and strategic survey confirmed a total of 70 raptor nest sites and territories in the study area in 2012, which included 29 nest sites, nine occupied territories and 32 roost sites. 

Of 35 Barn Owl sites in Duhallow, 20 were confirmed nesting sites and 15 were regular roosts. 

In 2012, a total of eight Long-eared Owl nest sites were located and an additional nine occupied territories, and a single Kestrel breeding attempt and 17 roosts.  

A total of 68 raptor nest sites and territories were confirmed in the study area in 2013, which included 33 nest sites, 11 occupied territories and 24 roost sites. 

Of 40 Barn Owl sites, 24 were confirmed nest sites and 15 were regular roosts. 

A total of 18 active Long-eared Owl sites was recorded in 2013. Eight were nest sites and nine were occupied territories from 2012 which were resurveyed in 2013, of which only one was active. One new nest site was also located. 

One known Kestrel nest site and two occupied territories were also located in 2013 and nine roost sites recorded.

Monitoring of the 20 confirmed Barn Owl nest sites during the breeding season 2012 revealed that 13 (65%) were successful, while the remaining seven (35%) failing to fledge young. 

A breeding success of 66.6% was recorded at six known breeding attempts for Long-eared Owl with an average brood size of 2.2 young per brood.

Seventeen Barn Owl sites remained active in 2013 (an occupancy rate of 85%) though nesting took place at only three of these (a success rate of 17.6% of occupied nest sites). 

From eight active Long-eared Owl nest sites in 2013, six remained active in 2013 (an occupancy rate of 75%), though all failed to breed. 

Nest boxes
One of the first formal nest box schemes for Barn Owls and Kestrels in Ireland was undertaken for this Project. A total of 44 artificial nest sites have now been installed in Duhallow including 29 Barn Owl boxes and 15 Kestrel boxes, representing one of the highest densities in the country. 

An awareness campaign was also managed throughout the project, and the work was publicised through posters (162), and a wide range of events and presentations (16), articles in newspapers and magazines (16), and features on websites (8). 

This blog was also set up in March 2012 to make the project accessible to the general public. A total of 155 posts with information, photos and footage were featured, which attracted 37,506 page views from over 20 countries.  

A documentary on the project was also filmed for “Living the Wildlife” which aired on RTE in April 2013 and was repeated in December 2013.

To download the full report, go to this page HERE. (Opens a new window, on, where you can view and download the file. File size is 7.9Mb).