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!!!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


During the last few weeks whilst doing my checking of the local derelict buildings and barns I have found evidence that 3 of them are now being used/visited by Barn Owls. Currently they are all just roosting sites as there is just nowhere for them to nest. So in an attempt to stop the birds (presumably last years juveniles?) dispersing any further a field I took upon myself to get some boxes up as soon as I could. But that is where the problem started, I didn't have any boxes that were ready to be erected, but what I did have was some old wooden pallets that I blagged of a local farmer.
They were a bit rough, full of knots and nails but surely they could be transformed? And if so then I knew just the man to help me do it!
Old pallets
An SOS went out to Col Green as he was the man I turned to during this time of need, and through gritted teeth he said he was only too pleased to lend a hand.......what a good bloke!  

We met up in the evening at Carl's workshop and to begin with there was no real plan, but once I'd shown Col the pile of timber that we had to work with (he wasn't impressed!) and then explained what the box needed to look like when finished we set about the task in hand. This challenge was really going test Col's carpentry skills to the full, but I know he doesn't like things to be too easy!!
Col, not a happy chappy!
At times we even had a reversal in our roles, on a couple of occasions I had to stop Col to show him where he was going wrong (can't believe I said that!) whilst he picked up the camera and took a few snaps of "the master" at work!
It wasn't long before we had the prototype finished, yes I know a bit rough around the edges and very wonky looking but Col did his best!  

The prototype
During the next couple of hours we both worked like Trojans and in the end we had three identical(ish) boxes made.............we were both happy.

Not a bad transformation I would say, 3 pallets to 3 boxes in just a few hours. They just need a coat of paint now and then they will be ready for erection, fingers crossed the owls will like them? 
And finally, just to prove to all those doubting Thomas' out there who say that Col doesn't actually know how to smile..............well just look at this image, as they say the camera doesn't lie!
Col - can be a miserable old bugger at times but never the less a TOP BLOKE!


  1. What a happy chap.

    You guys are working wonders with old bits of timber- I hope the owls appreciate it.

    1. I think it is more down to Col working wonders Carl.....while I watch and direct!

  2. Is that one of your owl pics just to the left of the upper box in the penultimate image?

    1. No it isn't Richard, I wish it was though! Trust you to have spotted that!!

  3. Not an owl but looks like a pair of Great Tits to me!!