Rain

Rain

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 10°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.

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.”

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

A winning lottery ticket was bought in Colchester but the prize is yet to be claimed

The search is on for a mystery lottery ticket holder sitting on an unclaimed fortune somewhere in Colchester.

Some of the drugs were stolen from Ipswich Hospital

Health workers have been caught stealing controlled drugs from some of the region’s hospitals, it can be revealed.

Belchamp St Paul, where the bungalow caught fire

A 96-year-old woman rescued by firefighters from her burning home in Belchamp St Paul has died in hospital.

The air guitar competition at South Street Studios in Ipswich

Aspiring rock-gods and up-and-coming shredders have pitted their axe-wielding skills to the test in a competition to find Ipswich’s top air guitar hero.

Clockwise from top left: Colin Deferia, Simon Webber, Frank Warren, Paul Baker and Andrew Seaton

Five men have been jailed for a total of 112 years for conspiring to murder a man in Bury St Edmunds who was left for dead after being shot with a sawn-off shotgun.

Josh Emmanuel on the ball during the Manchester United v Ipswich Town (Capital One Cup) match at Old Trafford, Manchester, Lancashire, UK on 23 September 2015.      

Picture: Steve Waller       

www.stephenwaller.com

Now 10 games into the season and Ipswich Town sit 13th in the table. Is that going to be the club’s level for the rest of the season?

Simon Dobbin with his wife Nicole.

Thirteen men charged in connection with an incident that left Mildenhall man Simon Dobbin with life-changing injuries have all pleaded not guilty.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24