Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Very early Tawny Owl

Whilst doing winter maintenance work at Brackenhurst, Simon Taylor found a Tawny Owl sitting on four eggs at Brackenhurst on the 10th January. Its very unusual to find them breeding this early, and this far north, and often we'd still be clearing squirrel dreys out of the boxes in order to allow the TOs to breed at the more usual time of March onwards.

Anyway, went to have a look see on Monday with low expectations after the recent cold weather, which got even lower when told on site that 'pigeons' had been going in and out of the box. However, this was all knocked in to a cocked hat when I found a single FS chick in the box. Going by how clean the box was, I'd say the other eggs and or siblings had been recycled.

I checked with the BTO's Dave Leech to see how early our bird was in national terms. Dave advised, that ringing wise, on the Nest Records Scheme database, that this is the joint earliest ever recorded - two more records on 5th March in 1974 and 2003, on the 6th and two on the 10th, then the rest are from 26th March onwards (4,829 in total). However, there may be a few older ones on the Ringing DataBase, and I'm looking in to that with the BTO.


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