I have been inundated with emails and phone calls over the last 10 days with sightings of Barn Owls hunting in the day. This is usually and indicator that the owls are struggling to find prey.
It seems to be “county wide” with reports from all corners of Montgomeryshire.
Yesterday a landowner informed me that he had witnessed 2 Buzzards mobbing a Barn Owl, resulting in the Barn Owl being killed. This all happened at 4pm in broad daylight, highlighting the hazards of hunting in daylight hours.
The latest phone call I received this evening was from a gentleman who had a lethargic/underweight Barn Owl in his utility. The bird was ringed, and even though it was “lethargic” it still managed to draw blood, the only details off the ring that he has managed to retrieve so far is “LONDON”
In fairness he is going to try to rehydrate the bird and if still alive first thing he is going to take it to the vet. I should receive the ring number tomorrow. Hopefully it will not be like one of those Rolf Harris animal hospital programmes when he used to say “remember Billy the Barn Owl on last week’s programme, sadly Billy died” I would rather hear them say “Billy is doing well and we hope to release him in a few days”.
On a more serious note, I hope this cold spell is not going to have the devastating effect that the winters of 2009 and 2010 had on our Barn Owl numbers when we lost 80% of our birds. We would greatly welcome any records of Barn Owls in likely breeding locations.