Weather Woe for Owls

22nd June 2012
Weather Woe for Owls - Barn Owl Trust
After a great start to the breeding season here in the South West our hopes for a bumper Barn Owl year have been knocked back yet again thanks to our unpredictable British weather. It has been 15 years since we’ve had a really good year for the birds in this part of the country (1997) and the balmy March weather that led us, and the birds, to think that this year would be good has been replaced with unseasonable wind and rain.
Our annual monitoring visits are providing very mixed results with sites visited before the storms of last weekend having broods of up to seven owlets. The owls at our nestcam site hatched five owlets this year but two have now succumbed to food shortages as the weather prevented the adults from providing enough food for their family. Some adult Barn Owls seem to be coping with the weather conditions. We surmise that if the habitat close to the nest site provides a really good food supply then the birds can stock pile food for their young, or pop out during any clear periods to hunt. Birds that need to forage further from the nest site for food are at a distinct disadvantage.