It is certainly not unusual to find Barn Owl boxes occupied by Jackdaws and, as they cram as much material into the available space as they can, often small sticks and twigs can be seen protruding from the nest box entrance to indicate their presence. I came upon one such box this afternoon but all was not as it seemed. There was plenty evidence that a Barn Owl had been visiting the box judging by the large amount of droppings underneath it and when I climbed up the ladder to inspect the box I could hear the tell-tale calling of a newly hatched owlet.
When I opened the box there weren't any Jackdaws present and nothing could be seen except a box full of their nesting material that reached from the bottom of the nest chamber up to and out of the entrance hole. A small amount of the material is shown in two of the pictures below. After painstakingly removing it bit by bit I eventually uncovered this pale female bird incubating eggs and one newly hatched owlet.
Although her plumage was in a glossy condition she was seriously underweight, obviously due to her lack of feeding as a consequence of being trapped under the Jackdaw nest. With everything now cleared out of the way she has a chance to regain weight and fitness . The young owls will have room to develop I hope that they can all fledge successfully later in the season. All that is now needed is for her mate to visit and feed both her and the youngsters to enable this to happen.
|First owlet and eggs yet to hatch.|