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Old 31-08-2004, 10:50 AM
Sacha
 
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Default OT Little Owls

I've asked this question on the birdwatching group with no success, so I
hope someone here might be able to answer my query:
We've had Little Owls the garden for years and are accustomed to
hearing them calling at various times of the day and then going off for part
of the summer.
However, although they were with us this spring, they seem not to have
returned and we can't imagine why, barring accidents, of course. The ones
we've had before have raised young successfully and there is plenty of food
for them because we are in the middle of farming land and much of it is
organic. We don't use pesticides on the Nursery, either.
Can anyone shed any light on this or do we have to accept that we've lost
them? Do they go away for longer periods than we're accustomed to and then
return either still later in the year, or perhaps the following spring?
--
Sacha
www.hillhousenursery.co.uk
South Devon
(remove the weeds to email me)


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Old 31-08-2004, 11:45 AM
Kate Morgan
 
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Default


I've asked this question on the birdwatching group with no success, so I
hope someone here might be able to answer my query:
We've had Little Owls the garden for years and are accustomed to
hearing them calling at various times of the day and then going off for part
of the summer.
However, although they were with us this spring, they seem not to have


I dont know enough about owls to be able to help but the Birdforum
people are very good, maybe they can tell you what might be going on.

kate

http://www.birdforum.net/
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Old 31-08-2004, 02:19 PM
BAC
 
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Default


"Sacha" wrote in message
k...
I've asked this question on the birdwatching group with no success, so I
hope someone here might be able to answer my query:
We've had Little Owls the garden for years and are accustomed to
hearing them calling at various times of the day and then going off for

part
of the summer.
However, although they were with us this spring, they seem not to have
returned and we can't imagine why, barring accidents, of course. The ones
we've had before have raised young successfully and there is plenty of

food
for them because we are in the middle of farming land and much of it is
organic. We don't use pesticides on the Nursery, either.
Can anyone shed any light on this or do we have to accept that we've lost
them? Do they go away for longer periods than we're accustomed to and

then
return either still later in the year, or perhaps the following spring?


I am not an expert on little owls, but (and forgive me if this is self
evident) if their population has declined in your area recently, it is
probably in response to a change in conditions in the area, which do not
suit the birds.

Pesticide poisoning does not seem likely in the circumstances you describe.

You say there is plenty of food, but is it the preferred variety, available
at the critical times? Has someone 'tidied up' the farmland, perhaps
eliminating suitable nesting sites (Little Owls commonly nest in rabbit
burrows, hollow trees, derelict buildings, etc.)? Little Owls are small
birds, and their ground nesting habit makes them vulnerable to predators
like cats and mink, have these been on the increase? They are also
vulnerable to RTAs, have you had a new road through near their nesting
areas?

Little Owls are an introduced species (first released in the UK in the late
19th Century) which prey in part on native songbirds which are also in
decline, so I suppose it is not entirely impossible that a landowner wishing
to promote songbird population levels might manage his lands in a manner
designed to discourage little owls, e.g. by reducing availability of known
nesting sites. As the birds have a diurnal habit, it is quite easy to spot
them. Not that I have heard of such deliberate persecution, of course, but
you never know.

As to whether you'll get them back, only time will tell. I hope you do, but,
like many species, Little Owls have not been having the best of times since
their peak in the 1930s.


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Old 31-08-2004, 06:20 PM
Sacha
 
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Default

On 31/8/04 2:19 pm, in article
, "BAC"
wrote:


"Sacha" wrote in message
k...
I've asked this question on the birdwatching group with no success, so I
hope someone here might be able to answer my query:
We've had Little Owls the garden for years and are accustomed to
hearing them calling at various times of the day and then going off for

part
of the summer.
However, although they were with us this spring, they seem not to have
returned and we can't imagine why, barring accidents, of course. The ones
we've had before have raised young successfully and there is plenty of

food
for them because we are in the middle of farming land and much of it is
organic. We don't use pesticides on the Nursery, either.
Can anyone shed any light on this or do we have to accept that we've lost
them? Do they go away for longer periods than we're accustomed to and

then
return either still later in the year, or perhaps the following spring?


I am not an expert on little owls, but (and forgive me if this is self
evident) if their population has declined in your area recently, it is
probably in response to a change in conditions in the area, which do not
suit the birds.

Pesticide poisoning does not seem likely in the circumstances you describe.


Very unlikely, I think, especially given the length of time they've been
round here without harm.

You say there is plenty of food, but is it the preferred variety, available
at the critical times? Has someone 'tidied up' the farmland, perhaps
eliminating suitable nesting sites (Little Owls commonly nest in rabbit
burrows, hollow trees, derelict buildings, etc.)? Little Owls are small
birds, and their ground nesting habit makes them vulnerable to predators
like cats and mink, have these been on the increase? They are also
vulnerable to RTAs, have you had a new road through near their nesting
areas?


No new roads nearby - we live among some of the narrowest lanes in
Devonshire!
I don't think cats have increased and certainly not on our property; I don't
know that we have any mink at all round here. It's possible that a recently
sold-for-development farm has been 'tidied up' already but I don't know that
and I don't think so. We don't know exactly where they nest but have seen
the fledged young in our Atlantic Cedar and heard the adults in the garden
very regularly, so our impression is that either they nested somewhere in
the garden or nursery, or possibly the church next door. We heard them at
all times of day, including the early rays of dawn.

Little Owls are an introduced species (first released in the UK in the late
19th Century) which prey in part on native songbirds which are also in
decline, so I suppose it is not entirely impossible that a landowner wishing
to promote songbird population levels might manage his lands in a manner
designed to discourage little owls, e.g. by reducing availability of known
nesting sites. As the birds have a diurnal habit, it is quite easy to spot
them. Not that I have heard of such deliberate persecution, of course, but
you never know.


I rather doubt anyone in this small village would do anything to disturb
such birds. As I say, they were with us this spring and we don't know of
anyone who is new to the area or who would behave in this way.

As to whether you'll get them back, only time will tell. I hope you do, but,
like many species, Little Owls have not been having the best of times since
their peak in the 1930s.


We're crossing our fingers because we hate to think of them disappearing
from our lives!
--
Sacha
www.hillhousenursery.co.uk
South Devon
(remove the weeds to email me)



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Old 31-08-2004, 07:35 PM
BAC
 
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Default


"Sacha" wrote in message
k...
On 31/8/04 2:19 pm, in article
, "BAC"
wrote:


"Sacha" wrote in message
k...
I've asked this question on the birdwatching group with no success, so

I
hope someone here might be able to answer my query:
We've had Little Owls the garden for years and are accustomed to
hearing them calling at various times of the day and then going off for

part
of the summer.
However, although they were with us this spring, they seem not to have
returned and we can't imagine why, barring accidents, of course. The

ones
we've had before have raised young successfully and there is plenty of

food
for them because we are in the middle of farming land and much of it is
organic. We don't use pesticides on the Nursery, either.
Can anyone shed any light on this or do we have to accept that we've

lost
them? Do they go away for longer periods than we're accustomed to and

then
return either still later in the year, or perhaps the following spring?


I am not an expert on little owls, but (and forgive me if this is self
evident) if their population has declined in your area recently, it is
probably in response to a change in conditions in the area, which do not
suit the birds.

snip


We're crossing our fingers because we hate to think of them disappearing
from our lives!


See
www.barnowltrust.org.uk/Forms/No_32.pdf which contains information
about Little Owls, including instructions on the construction and siting of
nesting boxes suitable for them. If they have 'lost' natural nesting
opportunities in your area, providing an alternative might help. I hope you
have them back soon.


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Old 01-09-2004, 10:39 AM
Sacha
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 31/8/04 7:35 pm, in article , "BAC"
wrote:
snip See
www.barnowltrust.org.uk/Forms/No_32.pdf which contains
information
about Little Owls, including instructions on the construction and siting of
nesting boxes suitable for them. If they have 'lost' natural nesting
opportunities in your area, providing an alternative might help. I hope you
have them back soon.


They must be reading urg! We heard them last night at about 11pm. I'm
really thrilled and delighted to hear them again and shall be keeping my
ears open from now!
--
Sacha
www.hillhousenursery.co.uk
South Devon
(remove the weeds to email me)

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Old 01-09-2004, 11:08 AM
Kate Morgan
 
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Default


They must be reading urg! We heard them last night at about 11pm. I'm
really thrilled and delighted to hear them again and shall be keeping my
ears open from now!

hurrah for the little owls :-)


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