Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2007 my quest began to locate as many local Little Owl territories as possible. The driving force was a reported decline in the uk numbers so I thought I would do my bit and conduct a study in my area. After 7 years and countless hours out in the field I have detected over 200 different sites. With a thirst for a greater understanding of the owls a more comprehensive monitoring and nest box programme then commenced. This also now includes monitoring the local and very sparse population of Barn Owls, please pop back occasionally and catch up with the life and times of my owls and any other wildlife that I come across. I hope you enjoy your visit!!!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Back to Owling!

Went out tonight with my good friend John to check on a couple of little owl boxes that he helped me put up earlier in the year. Although he knew the good news that two of the boxes were occupied it was the first time he had been really up close and personal with a little owl.

As advised by Emily I am now working within the BTO's protocol set out for the nest site monitoring, I will be keeping records of all visits and and logging any developments, after the breeding season all my info will be collated and sent to the BTO via Emily.

The owls at both nest box sites are doing really well and the hen birds are sitting tight whilst performing their incubation duties. The male birds are working even harder and are busy out hunting most of the day as they have to keep the hen bird fed because she does not leave the nest until the eggs have hatched. 

Below is an image of the hen bird at the first site we visited, it is absolutely amazing how they don't move even when the inspection door has been opened. As this bird was sitting so tight I decided not to move her to do an egg count, it will just have to be a surprise on how many eggs she has when they hatch!

At the second site the hen bird was off her eggs and in the far corner of the box (no image possible) but this was only because she was busy devouring a mouse that the male bird had taken in to her. On the last visit with Emily these birds had three eggs and as that was over a week ago so we can assume no more will be laid.

Towards the end of the month all the eggs should have hatched, just after this time I will be returning with Andy Smith from The Charnwood Ringing Group to ring the juveniles, so fingers crossed all goes well until then?

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