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30 April 2012

Footage of first Barn Owl chicks of the year

Some video of the first Barn Owl chicks of 2012, hatched in Tipperary around 22nd April (Video courtesy of Brian Dillon). 

Another clip, below, shows both the adult birds in the nest box just prior to the laying of the eggs (Video courtesy of Brian Dillon).

And the next clip shows the female incubating the eggs. As she departs the nest box momentarily it is possible to see she is ringed.

 Video courtesy of Brian Dillon, who monitors Barn Owl sites in south Tipperary and is assisting with this project. He has collected this footage under licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

28 April 2012

Buzzards in Duhallow

Buzzard chick (Photo: Allan Mee).

Buzzards have been spreading steadily throughout Ireland over the past two decades and now breed at the eastern edge of Duhallow, around Mallow and east of Newmarket. However, they are still rare to the west of these areas, and are still largely absent from Co. Kerry. A special effort is being made this summer to monitor the spread of this dramatic bird. Full details are on this page HERE, and if you see any, please let us know. Contact details are HERE.

25 April 2012

Video of ringing of Barn Owl chicks

John Lusby visits one of last years Barn Owl nest sites (under licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service) to ring, weigh and measure the chicks. 

With the first Barn Owl chicks of 2012 now already appearing (see the post below), we are getting set to monitor the known Barn Owl sites in Duhallow, and hopefully find a few more new ones. We aim to time a visit to the nest to when the chicks are about 25-30 days or older, in order not to disturb the female. She will be roosting away from the nest during the daytime, once the chicks are old enough to regulate their own body temperature – about 20 days old. The male will already be roosting elsewhere, as once the eggs are laid, he usually only visits the nest to feed the female and young.

These visits will usually take place in late June to late August. In the meantime, by observing the nest from a distance, we can work out from the vocalisations of the chicks and behaviour of the adults approximately what age the chicks are, and then arrange the best time to visit the nest to ring the chicks, as in the video above (Video: John Lusby).

24 April 2012

Early Barn Owl chicks

John Lusby reports that a Barn Owl nest site in South Tipperary, just to the north of Duhallow, has a brood of chicks which hatched 2-3 days ago (around 22nd April). The eggs would therefore have been laid around 23rd March, one of the earliest nesting of Barn Owls recorded in Ireland. Although the mildness of the winter just gone may be an important factor, Tipperary generally has some of the earliest nesting Barn Owls in Ireland. This is at least partly due to the early season abundance of the Greater White-toothed Shrew, a recently introduced small mammal (upon which the Barn Owls readily feed) which is increasing its range by several kilometres each year. It is currently widespread in most of Tipperary and part of east Limerick (with a small outpost in Black Rock, Co. Cork). It is thought the shrew hasn't yet reached the Duhallow area, but we will all be on high alert, not just for early-breeding Barn Owls this year, but also for signs that the shrew has spread into the area.

More on that soon...

A 2-3 day old Barn Owl chick would be only about 4cm long, featherless and blind, though they grow quickly. This Barn Owl chick (photographed in Kerry) is about 20 days old, just old enough to regulate it's own body temperature (Photo: M.O'Clery).

23 April 2012

17 April 2012

John Lusby to give talk on Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project

On Thursday 19th April John Lusby, Raptor Conservation Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, will give an illustrated talk on the Duhallow Raptor Conservation Project. It will be held the James O'Keeffe Institute, Newmarket, Co. Cork, starting at 7.30pm. All are welcome. 

For further info, contact Katie at 029 60633.

16 April 2012

First phase of Long-eared Owl Survey completed

The first phase of the Long-eared Owl Survey in the Duhallow region has just been completed.

Typical habitat north of Ballydesmond. Several Long-eared Owls were detected in such habitat during the Survey (M.O'Clery).

Three 10km squares were chosen in which to play a tape of the male and female calls of Long-eared Owls, along with the sound of the wing-clapping display. This was done under special licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The reason for playing the calls was to entice the Long-eared Owls to react to the tape, and give us an indication of their presence. The tape was played twice at roughly 1 km intervals in each of the three squares - about 660 times at 330 sites in total. So far, a minimum of 10 and a possible maximum of 14 territories have been recorded. Phase 2 will begin shortly as the breeding season progresses, to try and locate the nest sites, leading to stage 3, re-surveying all the sites where the tape was previously surveyed in order to find calling chicks. Plenty of work left to do!

Sounds of male and female Long-eared Owls are on this page HERE.
If you see or hear a Long-eared Owl in Duhallow, please contact us. Details on this page HERE.