Friday, 3 August 2012

Monitoring Barn Owl nests in Cavan

barn owl chick photo by Eilish Mc Gowan

Following a talk on Barn Owls by John Lusby, Raptor Conservation Officer with BirdWatch Ireland in April, there has been growing enthusiasm to locate Barn Owl sites in the county. This enthusiasm has been well rewarded and now we are delighted to be able to add two active and successful nest sites of the elusive Barn Owl to the national distribution map. I myself followed up reports from the local Wildlife Trust of a potential site close to Bailieborough, which lead to nesting being confirmed in recent weeks. John Lusby visited this nest two weeks ago alongside the Wildlife Trust members and a single chick was ringed. However, the chicks had already fledged, and two other birds using a nearby tree were also very likely to be chicks of this year, meaning three fledged chicks in total. Given the fact that it has been a very poor breeding season for Barn Owls across the country, a brood of three is fantastic and well above the national average for the year, which gives good hope for the species in Cavan. On the same trip John also confirmed another nest site close to Cavan town, although the site has only become known to BirdWatch Ireland very recently, it is obvious it has been used for some time based on accounts of the landowner as well as the build up of pellets, which is also encouraging news. The nest itself was inaccessible, however it was confirmed that chicks were present via a roost watch and also with the use of a special nest inspection device.

So there are Barn Owls in Cavan! And probably many more sites than people may have previously thought. We encourage all branch members to send on any sightings and information and to assist with locating other sites in the county. The Raptor Conservation Project will continue to monitor both of these known sites in future years and hopefully we can help this work and add to the list. Please however bear in mind that Barn Owls can be very sensitive to disturbance and that nest site locations should be kept discrete for their own protection.

John would also like to express a very warm thanks to the enthusiastic reception he received at his talk in April and looks forward to further visits to Cavan in the future.
Visit the following link to The Mooney Show website to see an active barn owl nest here

If you think you may have breeding barn owls in your area contact John at
Visit a very informative blog with lots of information on birds of prey here