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Thread: Barn Owls

  1. #1

    Barn Owls

    When I bought our old farm house there were Jackdaws nesting in the chimneys. This was not conducive to seeing & breathing in the house when we lit a fire. The builder's merchants; when consulted said ," just shoot the b***ers."
    We said, " Oh No you cannot do that to the poor little darlings!!"
    Anyway I tried putting wire balloons on top of the Chimneys but the birds just pulled them off, or they coked up & smoked us out. I then built a nest box to give them an alternative, Click image for larger version. 

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    but the Jackdaws ignored it & continued to throw sticks down the chimney. I then lost patience & took the original advice & shot the b***ers. The nest box was not used for several years but whilst shooting a fox from the attic Velux (as you do), I noticed a pair of Barn Owls on the roof. I heard them scratching around the box during the day & they come out like bats together at 20:00 hrs to hunt. They are very tolerant of me as I have had several barbecues below them & have shot 15 foxes from the attic window with the 6.5 since the 1st Jan.
    It looks like I should have them for the next 20 years. I wonder if shooting so many foxes has helped them find more voles? They are incredibly vocal and snore louder than my wife & even hiss louder than the geese. It is a real privilege to have them.

  2. #2
    Lucky man. A lot of people, including me, would pay good money to have a pair of barn owls nest on their property. Anywhere. And that's the thing; you can't buy it. Obviously you're doing something right. Just don't change what you're doing.
    Nice one.

  3. #3
    Thats good. Lots of rough grass and somewhere to nest is what they require.

    The Barn Owls here on the Yorkshire Wolds were decimated by the cold and snow this winter. Still one or two about but a fraction of what there was, a friend of my brothers found six dead in the attic space of a barn in December.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodkayak View Post
    When I bought our old farm house there were Jackdaws nesting in the chimneys. This was not conducive to seeing & breathing in the house when we lit a fire. The builder's merchants; when consulted said ," just shoot the b***ers."
    We said, " Oh No you cannot do that to the poor little darlings!!"
    Anyway I tried putting wire balloons on top of the Chimneys but the birds just pulled them off, or they coked up & smoked us out. I then built a nest box to give them an alternative, Click image for larger version. 

Name:	barn owl.jpg 
Views:	43 
Size:	150.6 KB 
ID:	5791
    but the Jackdaws ignored it & continued to throw sticks down the chimney. I then lost patience & took the original advice & shot the b***ers. The nest box was not used for several years but whilst shooting a fox from the attic Velux (as you do), I noticed a pair of Barn Owls on the roof. I heard them scratching around the box during the day & they come out like bats together at 20:00 hrs to hunt. They are very tolerant of me as I have had several barbecues below them & have shot 15 foxes from the attic window with the 6.5 since the 1st Jan.
    It looks like I should have them for the next 20 years. I wonder if shooting so many foxes has helped them find more voles? They are incredibly vocal and snore louder than my wife & even hiss louder than the geese. It is a real privilege to have them.
    You are privileged indeed I have been fortunate of enticing a breeding pair on one of our stalking letts and i wish i could entice more , they bred lost year and had 4 squabs and your right they do hiss like geese and our vole population has been reduced considerably. an asset on any forestry ground

  5. #5
    We have an aviary built on to the sliding doors, on a ground floor room, letting onto the garden, Sooty, our rescued imprinted female Barn Owl is a constant source of wonder, to the many small children who sometimes visit to see her, & she is also a source of comfort to us during the winter months when she enters the house proper, to roost on curtain rails , or she may choose to preen Mrs Finnbear's eyebrows before flying again for a warm over the radiators, then having rested, stooping on the odd greyhound on the mat in front of the fire, getting a lot of amusement out of this activity!........ the hard part then ensues when later in the year she is visited by free flying males from the nearby meadows, making her screech, & then we have to gently remove eggs from her nestbox in later weeks, or she would never come out again!
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by finnbear270 View Post
    We have an aviary built on to the sliding doors, on a ground floor room, letting onto the garden, Sooty, our rescued imprinted female Barn Owl is a constant source of wonder, to the many small children who sometimes visit to see her, & she is also a source of comfort to us during the winter months when she enters the house proper, to roost on curtain rails , or she may choose to preen Mrs Finnbear's eyebrows before flying again for a warm over the radiators, then having rested, stooping on the odd greyhound on the mat in front of the fire, getting a lot of amusement out of this activity!........ the hard part then ensues when later in the year she is visited by free flying males from the nearby meadows, making her screech, & then we have to gently remove eggs from her nestbox in later weeks, or she would never come out again!
    What a lovely tale

  7. #7
    I put a box up in an old field shelter 3 years ago. Nothing used it up until now but for the past 3 or 4 months we have enjoyed a pair of arn Owls who have decided to make it home. We see them allot, whilst walking the dogs early in the morning or late at night, hunting the meadown for voles and mice. When I sit on the high seat at night waiting for foxes to rock up at the bait point I often watch them hunting the beetle bank through the night vision kit. Their eyes light up a treat. Fantastic birds and the place is much richer for their presence.

    .....and Rodkyak, 15 foxes out of the bedroom window since 1st Jan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The place must me over run.
    So much to learn and so little time left

  8. #8
    15 foxes is easy, I used to use a fishing line with a bell bite indicator coming in through the bedroom window. I have now gone into the 21 st century with a PIRA indicator over a dead sheep with an alarm in the bedroom.

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    Last edited by rodkayak; 31-03-2011 at 21:56.

  9. #9
    It's a nice feeling knowing you are doing your bit to help encourage barn owls in the wild
    here's a pic of one that used to sit by the back door of the OH parent's place

  10. #10
    There are a pair that hunt the lower meadow here. Wonderful to see at twilight and completely unphased by the boys and I rabbiting that same meadow - in fact, they now come over when they see us, presumably because we are inadvertently pushing their prey out and hence easier to see.

    Incidentially, jackdaws in the chimney gave me one of my proudest left and rights. I was sorting out the problem for my parents and shot one just as he was dropping onto the chimney pot. At that instant, another emerged from the chimney pot, turned over in the air on the tip of a wing, dropped vertically down the side of the pot and banked hard tight to the thatched roof before I got him as he was disappearing from sight around the gable. Normally, moments like that happen when you are alone but this time, it happened in front of my parents and their friends. My head was so big for weeks afterwards that it was a struggle to get my bike helmet on!

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