Today I was going to learn about barn owls. I had been looking forward to today for weeks but as I looked out of the window and saw the dark clouds a torrential rainstorm my heart sank a little. Luckily Mother Nature was kind and as I drove to my destination the weather became warm and still.
Yeapy!!! Great weather for spotting barn owls.
During the course we learnt about barn owl ecology, habitats, and surveying techniques.
Barn owls have a facial disk made of small stiff feathers that helps to give the owl extremely good hearing. Females have a darker colour under their facial disc and spotted breast feathers whereas males are plain white. They usually lay 5 to 6 eggs, which the female starts incubating as soon as the first egg is laid, and the chicks begin to look more like barn owls at about 10 weeks old. They eat a variety of small mammals but mostly eat voles. (If it’s a bad year for the vole population then this has a knock on effect on the owls)
After lunch we then went out surveying. We checked one box but there didn’t seem to be any signs of occupation so we walked to another one. We saw white wash marks around the other box and tree so we had our fingers crossed. Suddenly a barn owl flew out of the nest box and went into a near by oak tree watching us and then we heard the loud hissing of chicks.
The chicks were adorable large balls of fluff. It was truly amazing to see them as I had never seen a barn owl chick in real life before today. It was a dream come true and a magical experience i’ll never forget.
Before we finished for the day we even learnt a bit about the little owl and its habitat.
As usual it was a fantastic course run by Cheshire Wildlife trust and look forward to going on more.
What an awesome Day 11 of my 30 Days Wild challenge.