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We are still very busy checking the numerous boxes throughout the Wirral with mixed results, a box that we installed a couple of years ago in Childer Thornton had 3 chicks that were duly ringed (under licence).
A box in Neston had an adult female which had previously been ringed as a pullus in Brimstage 2 years ago and a box in Willaston had 3 more chicks. The chicks were ringed and the box was cleaned out, there was a stash of prey (voles) in the box (one of the chicks is obviously camera shy).
Whilst results in South Wirral are encouraging the same cannot be said for the North of the peninsula, nest box occupancy is almost nil and in some cases, access can be a challenge.
We still have approx. 40 nest boxes to check and will update you with the results as they come in.
Nest Box Maintenance
It is apparent that some of our boxes are now in poor condition and need to be replaced later in the year. The Eco boxes we are now using cost £140 each and that does not include the internal camera for monitoring purposes. Any donations you are able to make will go directly to purchasing replacement nest boxes, you can donate via the button on the web page or if you would like to sponsor a box please contact us for more details.
Thank you for your continued support.
It appears that the resident female Barn Owl, occupying our ‘live stream nest box, is not interested in bonding this year. In April there was a male calling and we were hoping that they would get together, but sadly for whatever reason, this has not been the case. Whether she decides to have a late brood or not remains to be seen.
Now that restrictions have been relaxed, the team has been able to start repairing and replacing damaged boxes and in some instances installing boxes at new sites.
Firstly the old box has to be removed: https://t.co/bXjoSBcejQ Before the new box can be installed.
NEST BOX MONITORING
The monitoring program is now in full swing with mixed results, it appears that many of the nest boxes are unoccupied which is a cause for concern going forward to next year and sightings are sporadic.
Out of the boxes which were checked yesterday, 2 boxes had an adult with chicks and or eggs but the chicks were tiny and approx. 3 to 4 weeks behind what we would expect at this time of the year.
The final box we checked did however have 2 owlets
2 females both of a good size and in good health, which we were able to ring (under licence) before returning them to the nest box.
It was interesting to hear, on the recent ‘Springwatch’ series, the thoughts of Chris Packham on how much the unseasonal Spring weather has affected the breeding season of a lot of birds this year. We can only wonder if this has impacted the Wirral Barn Owl population. We are not receiving any reports of deceased owls, so we are baffled as to where our birds have gone.
Now more than ever we are in need of your Barn Owl sightings to assist us with our conservation work.