Rain

Rain

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Hopes that barn owls are staging ‘partial recovery’

10:58 13 June 2014

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Copyright Steve Plume 2013

Wildlife experts are hopeful that Suffolk’s barn owls will stage a partial recovery after their numbers were decimated by last year’s freezing weather.

shares

Frozen ground and biting winds during the winter of 2013 caused barn owl mortality in the region to jump by about 300%, with the British Trust for Ornithology, reporting that 19 ringed birds were being reported dead each day.

However, mild conditions have led to a population surge of short-tailed voles – the owls’ preferred prey – giving the birds a greater chance of successfully breeding.

Steve Piotrowski, of Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project and ornithological advisor for Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said: “Early signs this year are showing that we are getting a partial recovery. Although there is low occupancy in nest boxes due to last year’s high mortality those that are breeding are doing well.

“If that continues, and we don’t get a period of inclement weather that lasts three or four weeks, there should be a partial recovery and hopefully that will go on next year to a full recovery.”

Mr Piotrowski said terrible weather between March and May 2013 had led to “an amazingly bad” breeding season.

He added: “Basically owls have to reach 340gms before they are in good enough condition to breed. If they don’t reach that figure they just breed.”

The population slump followed a record high in Suffolk barn owl numbers in 2012, when 420 breeding pairs were reported. The first owl survey ever carried out in 1932 saw a population of about 350 birds.

The success of barn owls in the region over recent years is due largely to the Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project – a partnership project between Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Ornithologists Group.

The initiative has seen hundred of nesting boxes installed across the county to replace lost habitat such as dead or hollow trees and modern barn construction.

The county had come perilously close to losing its barn owls – in 2005 numbers dipped to between 50 and 80 breeding pairs.

Mr Piotrowski said the weather now posed the biggest challenge for Suffolk’s barn owls, although there are still some farming-related issues.

He added: “The other thing that’s causing a little bit of concern is the rodenticide, there’s a worry there could be some secondary poisoning.

“Most of the owls in Suffolk are in the wider countryside feeding on short tailed voles, but the Barn Owl Trust are saying it’s having a real impact elsewhere.”

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Trimley

Common terns have been given a helping hand at a nature reserve near Felixstowe.

Event in aid of St Margaret’s Church, Shottisham, Tower Repair Fund.
People were invited to find out more about the project and the church's history.
The Paralympic Flame and filmmaker Matt Kirby's Oscar were also on display.
L-R Emma Thomas,Ivan Benden and Ann Collins.

More than 250 villagers and residents gathered at St Margaret’s Church in Shottisham on Saturday, to raise money for the church’s Tower Repair Fund.

I'm a Sheep... Get Me Out of Here

The organisers of a year-long celebration of Hadleigh’s wool town heritage have been amazed by the success of its first major event.

Emergency crews were called to reports of a two-vehicle collision in Baddow Road, Chelmsford shortly before 11.55pm.

A woman left trapped in a vehicle after a crash in north-east Essex was freed by firefighters and in hospital last night.

Services were cancelled or delayed at short notice.

Train services between Ipswich and Felixstowe are returning to normal after urgent repair work on the track caused cancellations this morning.

Volunteer lifeboat crews saved the life of a vulnerable man who fell from a small boat into the river Colne. Photo: Clacton RNLI

A man who fell from a boat and got stuck in mud was saved by volunteer lifeboat crews in north-east Essex in the early hours of Saturday.

A car crashed into the central barrier on the A12 in north-east Essex this morning.

A car crashed into the central barrier on the A12 in north-east Essex this morning.

(From left) Rosemary Hill, operations manager, David Robertson, centre manager, Bruce Root and Eddie Graham, facilities coordinator.

An employee at a shopping centre in Essex will be retiring on Tuesday after 26 years of service.

Sue Palmer

Sue Palmer’s influential book Toxic Childhood explains to parents how the modern world is damaging the development of a growing number of children.

The suspect knocked on a door in Almond Way sometime between 3.30pm and 3.45pm on Saturday last week (May 16) and threatened the 51-year-old occupant with a knife.

Police investigating an aggravated burglary in Colchester are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages