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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Barn Owl Research

Barn Owls have suffered serious declines in the United Kingdom to the point that it has become a specially protected species. They are open grassland hunters and prey mainly on small mammals such as voles, mice and shrews that thrive in rough tussocky grass that is not heavily grazed, mown or sprayed. This habitat is becoming increasingly uncommon.
Barn Owl (Photo linked to RSPB)

In Cumbria, the World Owl Trust, located at Muncaster, is collaborating with DEFRA to study Barn Owls and to promote conservation management such as creating habitat and erecting suitable nest boxes in farms around the countryside. The Trust also provides advice to landowners about how to protect this attractive bird.

In addition to conducting annual monitoring and censuses, the young owlets are ringed using rings issued by the British Trust for Ornithology bearing unique serial numbers and the address of the British Museum. This gives information about the dispersal movements and survival of the fledgeling owls. This week I assisted Sue, the World owl Trust Conservation Officer, in ringing broods of Barn Owl chicks at sites around South Cumbria.

World Owl Trust Conser- vation Officer Sue rings a Barn Owl chick.

4 Comments:

Blogger simon said...

Is that Sue handling the chick?

May I ask how she handles the owls without gloves? It seems their claws are as strong as other predators (if not stronger).

Saw a powerful owl once on our clothes line one evening. It was after the Guinea Pigs in a pen next door. It had got them! A really beautiful bird and quiet flier too!

12:01 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Young Barn Owls are really quite docile. Turn them on their backs and they go into a trance-like state.

6:18 am  
Blogger simon said...

ah yes! like the geeb chicks?!

7:44 am  
Blogger TCA 2006 said...

Is is just Sue that has that effect on young Barn Owls or is it a general phenomenon..?

TCA

5:53 pm  

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