Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Barn Owl rescue

The following story just in from Don Pritchett, co-ordinator of Vale Barn Owl Conservation:

"On Saturday 10 June I received a phone call from a Denton farmer about a tree that had blown down on the Friday night. A farmworker who lives nearby had been watching Barn Owls visiting the tree to feed young so first thing Saturday they inspected the tree and a fox was already on site and crows were gathering.

They removed 2 young owls from a hole and as the farmworker's father had a box in his back garden they fixed it to the fallen tree.

The owls were placed in the box and as requested, I had a look. Given the traumatic event and bad weather I bought six frozen white mice from a Grantham pet shop, defrosted them and took a biggish mouse from my garage trap before visiting the box with Keith Waterfall.

Keith climbed to the box and the youngest owl was not looking lively. Keith stretched his arm intending to offer my trapped mouse to the bigger owlet at the back of the box and as the mouse went over the smallest owlet, it perked up and grabbed the mouse and swallowed in one go. It then took three white mice.

The older one would not take a mouse so we piled three up near it.

That evening an adult owl was seen returning to the tree but seemed confused. On Sunday morning a peek showed two of the white mice we left had been eaten. That evening at 9pm an adult was seen entering the box.

On Thursday 11 July Colin Shawyer who monitors the boxes on this farm ringed the two young owls which were about to fledge!"

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