Below are photos of our Barn Owl chicks taken today [26 June 2010] whilst being weighed, measured, sexed and ringed this morning by Peter Wilkinson of the Hawk and Owl Trust.

Unfortunately this has been the worst year we have ever had since we started recording six years ago. Our best year was 14 chicks rung and last year there were 8 (we have 5 nest boxes)

This year there was only one live chick in each of three boxes but also one dead and partly eaten chick in two of the boxes and in the third box one chick of two hatched had gone altogether, probably eaten.

We think the problem is a lack of mice and voles due to the winter weather and poor hunting conditions for the adult owls in recent weeks.

If anybody out there has a cat that is bringing home mice but not eating them please collect them and give me a ring on 07860 663510 and I will collect them to give to the chicks to get them through to fledging.

The Little Owls have been more successful and at least two have fledged here, possibly more and there are pictures of one of them below. It seems that the beetles and worms that they eat have not been so badly affected by the weather.

John Parish.
Bedwell Hey Farm,
Little Thetford