One of the peak months for Barn Owl mortality is October and this is due to the fact that many birds are beginning to look for their own territories and begin to hunt for themselves following dispersal from their nest sites.
Reports are beginning to reach me of birds that have sadly been found dead and a few examples are shown below.
This young female had been ringed at Betley (one of a brood of two) at the beginning of June and was recovered dead at Crewe, a distance of 8km away.
This male bird was ringed at Acton Bridge (one of a brood of three in July) and he was unfortunately discovered dead underneath the same nest box; not having managed to leave his natal site successfully.
The story of this little chap is more upsetting as he had managed to leave his farm at Little Leigh and settled in the loft space of a barn on the neighbouring farm. He sadly became disorientated and could not find his way back out becoming trapped and dieing of starvation before being discovered by the landowner.
These birds serve to illustrate the plight of Barn Owls trying to make their own way in the world in the immediate period post fledging. It must remembered that the brood size of Barn Owl clutches are sufficiently large enough to ensure that many birds do survive this traumatic period and can go on to join the breeding population in the following year.