Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Barn Owls

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Wednesday 14th January 2004, 18:23   #1
Pete666
smart alec van driver

 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Southern England
Posts: 5
Question Barn Owls

Hi all
We all know how the UK motorway network has provided habitat and food for the Kestrel and I wonder how much this has affected the Barn Owl? I've been working nights now for around 8 months and in those 8 months I've seen more Barn Owls (around 12) than I've ever seen before,all of which have been either on the verges of or flying over the M4 (I've had to duck on a couple of occasions as they fly across very low) culminating in a brief sighting at 0335 today of an owl hovering in full street light not 6' off the ground and not 10 yards from the road(I just wish i could have stopped to watch).Also I would assume that these hunting birds are working by sight because motorways even in the small hours are not the quietest of places and I should Imagine that 44 tonnes of artic going by @ 56mph is deafening to the birds.Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
All the best
Pete
Pete666 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 14th January 2004, 18:54   #2
Elizabeth Bigg
Addicted member

 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4,088
Hi Pete - welcome to the forum. I can't answer your question, but there are lots of people here who will help you, I'm sure.
Elizabeth Bigg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 14th January 2004, 19:37   #3
CJW
Hit-and-run WUM
 
CJW's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Isle of Man
Posts: 4,861
Hi Pete and welcome to the Forums from all Moderators and Admin. staff.
I'm sure you'll get plenty of answers from more knowledgable people than me, but it's certainly an interesting thought.
Chris
__________________
Chris
CJW is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 14th January 2004, 19:53   #4
pauco
Старлинг фан
 
pauco's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: lancashire
Posts: 4,476
Hi Pete, and welcome to the forum. the barn owl`s
eye sight is just as sensetive as its hearing, so the noise of thundering traffic will have little effect on its hunting skills. The secret of any of the owls good eyesight in the dark lies in the size
and construction of the eyes. thats the short
version anyway.
regards bert.
__________________


Paul.
pauco is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 15th January 2004, 08:34   #5
Woody
Registered User
 
Woody's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Kent
Posts: 4,688
I seem to remember reading somewhere that there are around 3000 barn owl road casualties annually? That's a huge figure if the population is only something like 5000 pairs. Has anybody got any reliable up to date figures?

Woody
Woody is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 15th January 2004, 23:06   #6
AlanJones
Ornithologically Obsessed
 
AlanJones's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Durham, England
Posts: 18
Hi Pete,
You are one lucky guy, here in Durham Barn Owls live down disused mine shafts.
It does seem strange to me that they are so close to noisy traffic. Has the surrounding habitat changed in anyway forcing the birds to feed on verges.
AlanJones is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 15th January 2004, 23:10   #7
Ashley beolens
Breeding the next generation of birders.
 
Ashley beolens's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Milton Keynes, Bucks, UK
Posts: 1,174
A barn owl on the Scillies this year (quite rare) was hit (and killed :o( ) by one of the few cars they have on St Martins.
__________________
Ashley Beolens
http://www.viewsfromanurbanlake.co.uk/ - Local patch blog
http://www.mothininthegarden.co.uk - Moth Blog
Ashley beolens is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 16th January 2004, 01:44   #8
StevieEvans
Forum Member

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 4,093
Hello Pete et al

Here in Co D'ham the population is showing a recovery (mild winters, lack of snow cover, set-a-side, nest box schemes, etc) all helping.
Its often believed that Barn Owls are absent from areas with MWays & Main Trunk Roads, but this obviously isn't necessarily allways the case.
I know nest sites within 1 mile or so of both these types of roads.

What i think is, as these birds continue to re-populate areas, then we're more & more likely to see them close to our main road routes.

Theres a train of thought which thinks that the masses of suitable habitat along our major roads could be used as a way for local & isolated Barn Owl populations to link up along these linear routes, by providing boxes for them along the way. (& if they dont use them, then the Kestrels surely will!)......there will obviously be casualties, but it could just work....?

Regards Stevie
StevieEvans is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 16th January 2004, 09:24   #9
PaulAshton
Registered User
 
PaulAshton's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Primarily in a traffic jam on the M6 (junc 10)
Posts: 177
I'ver once seen a barn owl hunting over the grassy verges of the M6 (Warwickshire) in motorway during the night.

During the middle of the night say 3am some motorways are almost empty and traffic becomes a minor problem to any wildlife hunting in the area.

I've also heard of deer succesfully crossing motorways at the dead of night.
PaulAshton is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 16th January 2004, 10:28   #10
Gerry Hooper
Certified User
 
Gerry Hooper's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: devon
Posts: 621
Hi Pete,
I think Barn owls are attracted to motorway verges because of the amount of food for them there.
Often the surrounding fields are sprayed with chemicals making the verges a haven for all the little things that Barn Owls eat.
Enjoy your sightings!
__________________
Gerry
Gerry Hooper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 3rd February 2004, 19:29   #11
Suricate
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Northamptonshire
Posts: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody
I seem to remember reading somewhere that there are around 3000 barn owl road casualties annually? That's a huge figure if the population is only something like 5000 pairs. Has anybody got any reliable up to date figures?

Woody
Hi Woody,
The latest statistics seem to show that over 5,000 barn Owls are killed on our roads each year and the findings show that these birds were healthy and the road kill was not down to old or sick birds.
I have heard that the estimated number of Barn Owl pairs in the UK is below 4,000 pairs and I strongly believe that the Governments decision to stop the licenced breed and release schemes of Barn Owls is wrong and will in time prove to have an adverse effect.
Although the breed and release schemes did not increase the wild numbers it sustained the numbers killed by road traffic.
New road development plans are now being asked to make provision for Barn Owls by planting trees and substantial hedges near to the verge to try and deter the birds from crossing the roads.
I am still consulting with DEFRA to re-introduce the schemes in suitably sustainable habitat but I fear development is just leaving isolated pockets and corridoors that will adversely affect the numbers.
When the scheme was stopped many unwanted captive birds and young were destroyed but we did manage to rehome many rung birds.
It is good to know people are concerned by the decline of so many species and the barn owl and kestrel I have bred since the early sixties.
We have two established pairs near to us and I have just taken on another 8 acres so hopefully at least these birds will have a secure future.
Best Wishes
Suricate
Suricate is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 3rd February 2004, 20:59   #12
seb_seb
Registered User
 
seb_seb's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: walsall west mids england
Posts: 868
"We have two established pairs near to us and I have just taken on another 8 acres so hopefully at least these birds will have a secure future."
Suricate, thats great news and i hope you do your best to help them (as you probably will).
__________________
"We will look at some ofthebirds niave to Australia, here we have the most niave of them all- the Kookaberry"-- Pontius, The Wildboys
seb_seb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th February 2004, 08:13   #13
Woody
Registered User
 
Woody's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Kent
Posts: 4,688
Hi Suricate,
Thanks for the figures, even if they are a little depressing.

I was unaware that the barn owl breed and release schemes had been stopped entirely, although I knew that they had been heavily regulated, (justifiably). I would agree with you that it is a mistake, if only a small percentage of released brds survive long enough to breed that has to help wild populations in some way assuming of course that the release habitat is suitable and not already territory held by successful wild pairs.

Barn owls breed easily and readily in captivity and I dread to think what is happening to the 'surplus' of youngsters still being born each season. Rehoming of these birds needs to be done in such a way that the breeder does not allow the youngsters to go to unprepared owners with unsuitable circumstances.

Good luck with the wild pairs.

Woody
Woody is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th February 2004, 08:27   #14
Suricate
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Northamptonshire
Posts: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by seb_seb
"We have two established pairs near to us and I have just taken on another 8 acres so hopefully at least these birds will have a secure future."
Suricate, thats great news and i hope you do your best to help them (as you probably will).
Thanks for that
Suricate
Suricate is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th February 2004, 08:39   #15
Suricate
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Northamptonshire
Posts: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody
Hi Suricate,
Thanks for the figures, even if they are a little depressing.

I was unaware that the barn owl breed and release schemes had been stopped entirely, although I knew that they had been heavily regulated, (justifiably). I would agree with you that it is a mistake, if only a small percentage of released brds survive long enough to breed that has to help wild populations in some way assuming of course that the release habitat is suitable and not already territory held by successful wild pairs.

Barn owls breed easily and readily in captivity and I dread to think what is happening to the 'surplus' of youngsters still being born each season. Rehoming of these birds needs to be done in such a way that the breeder does not allow the youngsters to go to unprepared owners with unsuitable circumstances.

Good luck with the wild pairs.

Woody
Hi Woody,
There are still captive Barn Owls being bred and you are right they do breed so easilly and all year round.
These poor birds are often crammed into aviaries as nobody wants them, they have no rings or paper work ( Article 10 ) yet they are still sold.
I write in vain to DEFRA to introduce some regulations to restict the keeping of Barn Owls.
I spend a great deal of time trying to rehome unwanted barn Owls but in many cases the birds are better off being put to sleep, because they have little to no quality of life.
DEFRA have stopped all release of barn owls and except wild injured ( but so many times the birds have injuies that will not let them survive back in the wild )
Birds need to be 100%.
It can take between 2 and 7 years to successfully establish habitat to release a pair of barn Owls, so you have to be dedicated.
I had my first pair in 1960 and Im still hoping that some of the generations are still surving
Suricate
Suricate is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th February 2004, 22:48   #16
Sleeper
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 832
Suricate

Just wondering how impotant a roll the world owl trust plays in the Barn owl release( or non release). I am not familiar with what clout they have but i found it strange that DEFRA did not ask their opinion when they chose the non release scheme.
__________________
Sleeper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 4th February 2004, 23:03   #17
Sleeper
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 832
Oh dear I guess i mean important!!! .......nurse....
__________________
Sleeper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th February 2004, 10:15   #18
Suricate
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Northamptonshire
Posts: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper
Suricate

Just wondering how impotant a roll the world owl trust plays in the Barn owl release( or non release). I am not familiar with what clout they have but i found it strange that DEFRA did not ask their opinion when they chose the non release scheme.
Sorry if you were waiting for a quick response but have been out chasin` big Owls.
When DEFRA sent out the consultation paper it did go out to the World Owl Trust A. Warburton and J. Thurston. There was a two option choice and the WOT supported scheme 1 to discontinue ALL schemes, but later revised by saying correctly run schemes should enhance habitat and increase the ability for Barn Owls to recolonise. The consultation also was sent to the RSPB, RSPCA,Global Wildlife Division the IOA and a few others.
Suricate
Suricate is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th February 2004, 19:27   #19
Sleeper
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 832
That is dissapointing as I have spoken to the head keeper of WOT and he stated that they had not been asked. Wolf, as he is named, was quite strongly upset about this and quoted that they were more interested in what english nature had to say.

This information he was giving out was to a large group who agreed that it seemed outrageous that they had not been given a voice. But it is something that will be mentioned when I next speak to Wolf as this, if the case, is bad information.
__________________
Sleeper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th February 2004, 19:46   #20
Suricate
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Northamptonshire
Posts: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper
That is dissapointing as I have spoken to the head keeper of WOT and he stated that they had not been asked. Wolf, as he is named, was quite strongly upset about this and quoted that they were more interested in what english nature had to say.

This information he was giving out was to a large group who agreed that it seemed outrageous that they had not been given a voice. But it is something that will be mentioned when I next speak to Wolf as this, if the case, is bad information.
The response by English Nature is as follows:
English Nature Option 1 = Discontinue the Shceme * No population increase or conservation benefit.
The above is taken from DETR feedback, this is before it became DEFRA.
Perhaps you have an opinion ?. I know from different accounts that many Barn Owls had already been bred for release just before the decision was made to stop the Scheme and many barn owls were killed due to this.
Suricate
Suricate is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th February 2004, 20:20   #21
Sleeper
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 832
I would find it hard to have a correct view of the situation as i do not hold enough info or information.

The various bodies will no doubt have good reason to say no. I must say that if one of the main problems is suitable habit then I would agree that a "go ahead all" policy would not be a good proposition. Is this where the licence issue subject comes in? How do you view a "selective" release policy and would this be of long term benefit? I am keen to hear any points which could give further incite into this.
__________________
Sleeper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th February 2004, 20:46   #22
Suricate
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Northamptonshire
Posts: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper
I would find it hard to have a correct view of the situation as i do not hold enough info or information.

The various bodies will no doubt have good reason to say no. I must say that if one of the main problems is suitable habit then I would agree that a "go ahead all" policy would not be a good proposition. Is this where the licence issue subject comes in? How do you view a "selective" release policy and would this be of long term benefit? I am keen to hear any points which could give further incite into this.
The large groups in the consultation mainly replied by supporting a total ban.
For those involved in the actual release schemes thought that a total ban was not the answer.
As we have discussed on another thread habitat is the main key in the problem of many species and with Barn Owls it is finding suitable habitat that is far enough away from any major roads, with a good supply of prey species and without any other established pairs. A mamouth task that takes over two years to set up because you need to find other relative sites.
The last licence application to release barn owls stated in part : If a wild barn owl occurs within 2km of the site you propose for release,a licence will not normally be issued. Also applications to release within 0.5km of a major road will be refused.There was end of year reports, maps, ringing it was a complicated task to get it right. So I can understand it in part, but a total ban ?.
One point that was agreed with the release of captive bred birds was that it helped replace the many birds (3 out of 4 young birds die soon after leaving the nest ) that are killed on roads each year ( Est 5,000 ) or die through weather or starvation.
But the argument, especially in this case comes back to suitable and sustained habitat are perhaps the only answer and hope that the low numbers can survive and re-establish.
Suricate
Suricate is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th February 2004, 22:08   #23
saluki
Registered User
 
saluki's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 1,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suricate
Also applications to release within 0.5km of a major road will be refused.
Suricate
Was any thought given to railway lines Suricate? I only mention this as I used to do a fair amount of rabbit control on BR property at one time and it was far from unusual to find dead owls on the lines. On one occasion I found a dead Tawny and Little Owl, and an injured Tawny, in little over a mile of track. I realise that both these species hunt in a different manner to Barn Owls, but the quartering method often used by Barn Owls might actually make them more susceptable to injury than the aformentioned species. Railway lines - even more so, perhaps, than motorway embankments - attract all manner of wildlife. Having stood close by speeding trains on many occasions I can imagine how easy it would be for a bird to come to grief in the turbulant air created by such a massive, fast moving object. I also wonder whether BR's (I know it's not BR now, but the name escapes me) current policy of removing trees from the railway embankments might make these places even more attractive to hunting Barn Owls, therefore increasing the number of casualties. As, generally, few people visit railway lines, I wonder whether these casualties may be overlooked. I know the point is a little irrelevent now that the licenced breed and release scheme for Barn Owls has been halted (wrong decision IMO) but I'm just interested in your opinion.

saluki
saluki is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th February 2004, 22:56   #24
StevieEvans
Forum Member

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 4,093
Smile close shave..............

My partner has JUST informed me that she saw a Barn Owl "skim over the top of the car infront" of her this evening at 16:45 near Sunderland.

She feels that if it hadn't been for the Bankside Hedging that the bird would have been a metre lower & consequently have been hit...!!!!!

How many Lives has an Owl got.............nevermind a cat.

Regards Stevie.

PS Saluki, i wonder if anyone has super-imposed the 'known' Barn Owl distribution over a map of the Uk's high (well relatively high) speed rail network.

S.
StevieEvans is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 5th February 2004, 23:06   #25
deboo
.............
 
deboo's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: miles from Wisbech.
Posts: 2,133
Hi Folks,

May be I'll get shot down in flames!

But, In my part of the Country....Cambs/Norfolk border I've noticed more Barn Owls this past few months than at any other time recently..(In the past 10 years).
Along with Little Owls..they seem to be increasing in numbers.

Dave.
__________________
:-)
deboo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Watching Owls nr Guildford, Surrey ? nickb Birds Of Prey 15 Thursday 19th February 2004 21:33
January Owls in your corner of the world? NE Birds Plus Birds Of Prey 20 Friday 16th January 2004 20:54
Owls and grouse jbm Birds Of Prey 3 Wednesday 19th March 2003 17:17
Barn Owl in flight nigelblake Cameras And Photography 15 Sunday 2nd March 2003 22:27
Warwickshire Reserve in a flutter over owls....... El Annie Birds Of Prey 1 Saturday 23rd November 2002 15:51



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.28568006 seconds with 37 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 11:03.