Barn Owl Chick

Late nesting of barn owls could delay projects again this year

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Barn owls could delay work on projects again this year warns Senior Ecologist Danny Thomas.

Danny has been out monitoring barn owl boxes throughout Norfolk and discussing findings with other barn owl ecologists across the country. Despite early suggestions that the barn owl nesting season might begin early and pictures of barn owl chicks on BBC’s Springwatch close to fledging in early June seeming to support this, the nesting season is late this year. Danny has encountered barn owl chicks in Norfolk that have been about 2-3 weeks old on average in mid-July which appears to mirror other Counties but one nest box recently monitored still contained eggs.

As barn owls can take up to sixty days to reach maturity, it is likely that many barn owl chicks will not fledge until August with some nest sites still active in September.  It’s not clear why this season is later than expected but as barn owls tend to coordinate nesting with the increase in vole population it’s likely that vole breeding success has been lower than usual.  This has implications for development as barn owls will be active in their nest beyond the official recognised bird breeding season (March to August) as such some developers will have to monitor nests and delay works until nesting has concluded.  One positive is that barn owls are unlikely to attempt to raise a second brood this year so the risk of extensive delays as seen last autumn will be much less likely.

The Ecology Consultancy employs specialists in all relevant ecological disciplines which allows us to give expert advice to our clients about potential conflicts to projects and programming resulting from the presence of protected species. We are knowledgeable about wildlife legislation and seasonal ecological changes and so can therefore keep our clients fullyinformed to help minimise the potential impact of protected species on their developments.

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