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!!!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

3 more!

Following the title of my last post "2 More" which was about another two new Little Owl sites that I'd recently located one would think that this posts would suggest I'd found some more sites, but that is not the case.
The "3 more" I refer to in this title refers to another 3 more owl boxes that were erected this morning. My initial plan was to follow up two recent leads of Barn Owl sightings but when I saw how bad the weather was those plans were ditched. Instead I loaded up the Landrover with the boxes that Col and I had made/repaired recently and off I went.
At the first location a Little Owl box was erected at the edge of an orchard. There are already owls in residence here but the natural cavity they use makes it almost impossible to ring the juveniles. So I am hoping they find the box a more attractive proposition and relocate to it. This is the first Little Owl box that has a felt roof, the reason being that any box made of plywood has a weakness in the roof and after a couple of years they start to peel back and rot. We'll see in time if this amendment makes any difference.
At the second location I erected a Barn Owl box, this too has had a felt roof. I have recently discovered that this old Pollard Willow Tree has been used by a Barn Owl for roosting purposes. On two occasions I have found it fast asleep deep down inside the main trunk, so deep in fact it was almost on the floor! That obviously wasn't the ideal situation for the owl so a bespoke box was made. I have strategically positioned the box into the cavity where it will be well protected by the elements but the owl can still gain entry into the main trunk of the tree if it so wishes.
The final box of the day was another Barn Owl box. This is not far from the Barn Owl location that I mentioned in a post a couple of week ago. You may well recall me explaining that I'd located the owl roosting in an old derelict building that was due to be renovated. Well after a bit of networking I discovered another nearby building that looked just right for a box and the landowner was only too pleased to let me put one up.  
I obviously need to keep the location of this Barn under wraps to protect the privacy of the landowner and especially as it now has a box in it, and soon a Barn Owl! But this is the view from the outside.
After today's work my box tally has now moved on to 106 in total, 51 Little Owl & 55 Barn Owl. I still have a couple more made that have yet to be erected, once they are all up the timing will be just about right to start the marathon job of checking all 106 of them to see if any are being used as breeding sites., surely there will be a few?


  1. Firstly appreciation to your conceiving, this way is truly for capture the couple owls. It also had a fresh coat of paint and a nice new felt roof.

  2. This is a truly amazing tally of owl boxes Paul. Congratulations to you, but more importantly I think we should all express our gratitude to you for helping safeguard the well-being of these fabulous creatures. A heart-felt thank you from me!!

    1. Cheers Richard, but it is not all just down to me, I've got a good crew who put a lot of effort in too.

  3. A up Rid, Brilliant work.
    Just wondered which direction has been the most successful way you have your little owl boxes facing.
    I'm thinking of getting a couple made up & put up in the peak district this year.
    Many thanks Jim
    (Jim and kev's owl box adventure)

  4. Hi Jim,
    I don't tend to worry too much about the direction the Little Owl box is facing bacause the deisign with the tunnel offers protection from the wind/elements. However, I do ensure that the box is protected as much as I can from the midday sun, otherwise they could cook!!! I've had the most success with boxes mounted in between 6 and 10 feet high. Also remember that the Little Owl juveniles (unlike other owls) will still return back to the box for a couple of months after they are able to fly, so I like to offer somekind of perch/branch below or nearby the box to make matters easier for then in the early stages.
    Good luck with your boxes, I will be following your progress via your blog........Rid.

  5. They all look good mate,fingers crossed.