Is that a duck or an owl?

Is that a duck or an owl?

Lynne and Peter Flower has written an update on our work to enhance the number of Barn Owls in and around Kent.
Owl Eggs

As one by one a suitable site is chosen, and the boxes are erected, then a plan to monitor and check their progress needs to be drawn up. There is no hard and fast promise that a barn owl will be the first to notice the new ‘des res’ and pop inside to roost.

However, the importance of the availability of roosting and nesting sites to barn owls, to promote their success in an area, is paramount to our project.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides protection for Barn Owls, and most other wild bird species in England. The eggs and nests of most bird species are also protected.

Because Barn Owls are included in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, under Part 1 Section 21(1) the penalty for an offence involving a Barn Owl, its nest, or egg, includes a fine of up to £5,000, or up to six months imprisonment, or both, per bird, nest or egg.

Owls

It is important to impress this point. In order for us to undertake a monitoring programme of barn owl nesting success we are required to apply, annually, for a licence which lays out guidelines for monitoring and requires reporting finds.

Well, notebook and licence in rucsac, ladder on shoulder, the box is approached.

Owl's Nest

Before putting up the ladder, or opening the hatch - no bird likes a shock – so some gentle noises to let them know we are there – a little tickle of a stick on the side on the tree. This allows a bird (or animal) to make an exit if that is their preferred choice.

This applies to approaching any nesting bird species for recording.

Don’t be too disappointed – we weren’t. Eventually the prize we were hoping for – nesting barn owls. Hang around for next month’s blog for a feast of barn owl cuties!