This Autumn, the talented construction students at Brooksby Melton College, where I work, built me ten Little Owl nest boxes for a small project around Cropwell Butler where I live. I'd like to find out more about Little Owl preferences, dispersal and breeding success and I am hoping this is a good place to start.
The boxes are based on the Bob Sheppard dimensions which I am led to believe is one of the designs which Little Owls will take to more readily. In fact, as they are known to nest in anything from hay stacks to rabbit burrows it'll be interesting to see what occupancy rates I get with a concentrated effort.
This weekend I erected the last of the boxes around the cow and sheep fields which surround the village, along hedgerows and mainly in mature apple, ash and oak trees. After doing so, I have a fresh appreciation for the hard work that goes into projects like this and a bigger respect for the dedicated conservationists who conduct large scale and long term schemes.
The other evening I was out with my lamp hoping to find Woodcock and ended up catching a young Little Owl which was a pleasant surprise and definitely shows that they are present in the areas where I erected the boxes. Here's hoping for a mild winter and a good breeding season next year.