After 2014’s massive year for Barn Owl breeding, 2015 has been miserable. M reckons he has inspected 40 boxes in the whole county this year and ringed one single chick!
Better news, though. A box near Sherborne contained a very young chick and three eggs at the beginning of July.
Several weeks later there were three well-grown young, just past the ‘ugly’ stage and shedding their juvenile down whenever they moved.
All three were ringed and measured. Incredibly (to me at least) you can age the chicks pretty accurately by measuring the seventh primary feather’s length and looking it up in guru Colin Shawyer‘s tables.
Weighing was also a surprise – the older the chick, the lighter they are.
They reach their maximum weight in the nest and slim down to flying
weight as they develop.