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!!!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Be Prepared!

A lot later than planned the Landrover was loaded up Saturday morning with a batch of freshly made Barn Owl boxes, myself and Ron on board and all the kit we could possibly want to do the job in hand. At 9.00am we set off to towards the first site but on route we decided to stop off for breakfast, a bacon sandwich for Ron and 2 sausage baguettes for me (fat bu**er) I needed this to soak up the beer from the night before!

By 10.30am we turned off the main road and down a dirt track towards our destination, four muddy fields and the opening and shutting of three farm gates later we finally arrived at the first site of the day. A disused and very isolated dutch barn near to the village of Fleckney, it sat adjacent to a large rough pasture, loads of  ditches in the area and a meandering stream with grassy banks, ideal for Barn Owls! Many a year ago Barn Owls did use to breed here, it is understandable they don't use it anymore as there is no nest box/cavity, until now!

We finally got the box up, but it took far longer than we anticipated? As previously mentioned we had all the kit on board we could possibly want apart from that is the most important piece, the power drill!!!!! I had a go at using a traditional old fashioned screwdriver but this was a total waste of time, it was utter useless! There was no choice, we had to drive back and fetch the power drill, 16 miles, 8 muddy fields, 6 gates and 1 hour later we were back.

Finally the box was up, I just hope the owls appreciate all the effort and they do the right thing and move in! 

The erecting of the second box was pretty uneventful in comparison to the first, we again selected a "nice" looking area at Kilby, it has loads a grassy field strip margins and ditches. The owner of this land does occasionally see hunting barn owls so we are at least in roughly the right area.

An isolated tree that sits on a grassy field margin was selected for the Barnie box, it will be great if they move in here as for neighbours they will have my Little Owls at site No 91, a breeding pair who incidentally are also using one of my boxes.

By the time the second box was up we had ran out of time and we had to call it a day, the rugby and the footie were on the TV and we just had to go to the pub and watch them! Nowhere near the targeted 5 boxes we wanted to put up, I think the moral of the story is, be prepared, no stopping of for breakfast and deffo no beer the night before!


  1. i reckon that wont be the last thing you neglect to fetch along Paul....

    The most single important thing to remember is :-
    where you've put the boxes ! - have wandered in circles more than once until the penny finally dropped.

    Last twice we've forgetten to take sawdust / shavings to line the box floors.....
    Fortunately farmyards seem to be ideal places for scrounging just about owt you forget to fetch along !

  2. Oh I'm guilty of forgetting the shavings for lining the box as well Stevie, I chose not to mention it as I did it on Saturday.....twice!!!
    Empty headed or what?