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, 7 July 2014

And they are off!

In my previous post I concluded with a snippet about how I was attempting to capture some video footage of the Barn Owls at one of my breeding box sites. My buddy Adey very kindly lent me his Bushnell Trophy Cam and it was very much trial and error to begin with. It took seven consecutive evenings of tweaking until I'd finally got the camera positioned in the correct place in order to capture what I was after. On two occasions the batteries went flat on me (sensitivity set too high and all I got was a piece of Ivy swaying in the wind!). On another occasion I forgot to turn the camera on, and another visit I even forgot to insert the memory card, what a plonker! Anyway god loves a trier and after trying several different camera positions and alternative methods of holding the camera I eventually captured some footage, and apparently it was just in time too!

Here below is an image of the final set up that worked, the camera was mounted on a pair of telescopic fishing poles that took it up the required 10 feet that made it level with the box .Yes it does look as though the camera is very close to the box and could cause an obstruction for the incoming adult birds as they fly in. But it is an optical illusion, the camera was set six feet away and caused no problems at all.

Once the camera is set up correctly it will detect any motion and then start to record for the pre-set duration, in this case 20 seconds. It can still record during the night via the use of infrared although the quality of the footage is not too good. In this first recording two of the juveniles can be seen out of the box practicing their wing flapping. 

If you look carefully in this second clip one of the birds can be seen with a vole in its beak, sadly the parent owl wasn't captured coming in and out, it must have been too quick!

Nothing too spectacular about this third piece of footage apart from it is good to compare the quality as it was taken in the middle of the day. 

As it turned out this was my last chance to capture these two particular juveniles on video as later on that evening when the camera was collected I took the opportunity to check the box and they had fledged! I had a quick look around in the nearby bushes and trees but they were not located, so it is now fingers crossed they manage to survive and in time they with help to populate the local Barn Owl population.

Catch up with you all soon..............


  1. Having seen this interesting footage, Paul, I'm looking forward to getting my Aldi version back from the Service Centre (mine was faulty) and putting it through its paces.

    I thought newly fledged Barnies hung around for a while after fledging?

  2. I was wondering if the bird on top of the box in the first two clips is looking for the adult bird in the trees above it keeps looking up. Fascinating bids to watch

  3. Some good clips there mate!!!