Monday, 15 June 2015

Long-eared Owl update

The breeding success of Long-eared Owls has been much lower than last year. I think this is down to the lower numbers of voles available. I watched one adult hunting for 1.5 hours during which time it brought in two chicks, which were probably Pheasant, I haven't seen them catch young birds as a prey item previously. Locally at least they appear to take small mammals almost exclusively, at least in the twilight hours when they can be watched.
By comparison last year I watched one owl catch 8 voles in 45 mins and another take 5 voles in 15 minutes. I think last year was exceptional for vole numbers and that this was mirrored in other areas of the country.
This photo is of an adult taken at the start of the month carrying a vole, taken at around 9pm just as the sun was setting which highlighted the bird and its pale wing edges.
Long-eared Owl with vole

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