After a disastrous 2013 when the Barn Owl population hit a ‘living memory’ all-time low, we are delighted that this year things are looking up. Not only are the birds breeding earlier than usual, our annual monitoring visits have so far shown larger broods than normal. As we know all too well from the really wet summer of 2012, things can go terribly wrong very quickly, but so far so good, at least here in the South West.
Last year we saw a 77% drop in breeding at sites here and figures from other groups show the national picture was almost as bad with 71% of sites checked failing and generally smaller brood sizes (ref: State of the UK Barn Owl population – 2013). But after a fairly mild winter the birds have rallied and as long as we avoid any significant extreme weather events, things are looking hopeful for good fledging success and hopefully second broods.