Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Barn Owl at Baston Fen
One of two birds that have been seen hunting over the small nature reserve just outside the village of Baston in south Lincolnshire. This site is pretty reliable for views of this iconic species, although numbers can vary.
Historically, the Barn Owl was probably the most common owl in Britain, but numbers have fallen from the middle of the 19th century to perhaps 12,000 pairs in the 1930's. Further declines have followed, linked with organochlorine pesticides to less than 5,000 pairs in the 1980's and to approximately 4,000 pairs in the 1990's. A recovery in numbers has occurred in some regions that can be correlated with the provision of nest boxes, suggesting that part of the decline was due to the loss of nesting sites. Weather can also play a factor with breeding success and inclement weather in the past has indeed led to the suspension of breeding, perhaps due to the poor condition of the adult birds.