Friday, 18 July 2014


Barn Owls over the Years:

We moved to our present house in 1999 and after being here for a few months I asked for permission to erect a Barn Owl box adjacent to the property. It was erected in 2001 to a drawing I managed to get from a friend who works for the Forestry. In 2002 we had a family of Kestrels raise young in the box and I must admit it was only then I realised or should I say it began to dawn on me as to how rare Barn Owls were. The following Spring I was talking to a farmer friend on the phone as he was due to arrive the following day to remove some old hedging to the front of the property with his J.C.B. I was stood in our kitchen looking out and talking to George when a white face appeared in the entrance to the box, I said I think we've got a white cat in the owl box. George said how did a cat up into your box as he said this a Barn Owl jumped out. George covered the 2 miles from his farm to our house in next to no time as he had not seen a Barn Owl for years, and we've had Barn Owls in the boxes ever since. The early years pictures were all taken {very poorly} on film. and it was not until 2007 we updated our camera to the Nikon D80 with a 70 - 210mm lens. Unfortunately at this time we had not got the quality of equipment being used today so please be understanding as to the quality of the images, its the birds that matter. Between the three boxes we have used, a total over over thirty Barn Owls have been fledged. During the last Winter it was suggested by the Barn Owl Trust that we supplement feed the adults and so a feeding table was erected and 250 frozen chicks put in the freezer and the birds during the worst of the weather were fed every night, some times with one chick each but when it was raining heavy we put out two each. 

All images of young out of the box were taken whilst the birds were being ringed.

This will be the first of several Barn Owl Posts.

First box, the starter from which all the others have been built. They are larger today but still to the same design just scaled up.The image shows a juvenile in the entrance 2007.

Pair of adults, original box 2007. 


                                                                     Three young 2011.


                                                           Five young on original box.


                                                Two young 2010 from the large box.


                                                    Five young 2011 first clutch.


                                                               Bad hair day? first clutch 2008.

New Larger box under construction, television cameras being fitted prior to the roof being fitted. We were told it could take up to 12 months for the birds to go into the box. Once the roof was fitted they were in the next evening.

Roof being fitted in one operation, due to the size it had to have joists which kept the roof in place but when putting the cameras on it was unusual to see any birds unless they had eggs or young. When Richard had his first visit to look for the Little Owls we put the camera on but no Barn Owls visible. They would be sitting on the joists.

Box Number three, replaced the original as it was falling to bits, my pal Derek helped me with the erection of this in early Spring 2012. The birds soon moved in and had the first clutch of birds in the new box.

Two adults 2012, the young were in the smaller box.

                     Adult on front of box in the Winter of 2012.

                                 Second Clutch 2009, in original box.As you can see it is past its sell by date and starting to fall to bits.

About Me;

Titus White:
Hi I am Richard Peglers friend Titus White, and those who follow Richards posts will understand the name and reason for it. I have been birding with Richard for 3 years and a volunteer at Rutland Water on the Osprey Project for 2 years. My early images were taken on a Nikon D80 with a 70 - 200mm lens. I updated the lens to a 70 - 300mm VR lens but still was not happy with the results. Eventually when Nikon announced the D7100 I decided to change so upgraded the camera and also invested in a Sigma 50 - 500mm lens.
I first met Richard through Arthur Costello as I was having the occasional visit from Little Owls on our land. We eventually found the Little Owls through another contact about 100 metres away. Photo's will follow on future posts.
I have recently upgraded my camera to full frame, this is a challenge I am at the moment enjoying trying to get the best out of the beast.
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