10 December 2010

Black Week for the White Owls

With the number of freezing days now having reached double figures in England and Scotland (read more on our brand new BTO website), the weather is making all the headlines. Similarly, the Ringing Office has received a number of reports from the public of ringed birds affected by the weather; found in gardens, barns, sheds, fields and city centres. Many birds are succumbing to this first wave of severe cold weather and the ringing recoveries reflect this.
For example, this week, we have received 31 reports of dead Barn Owls. In most cases the cold conditions figure as the cause of death. This was a black week for the Barn Owl, a species which probably found it difficult to find any small mammals due to the snow cover and the freezing temperatures.

Other dead birds reported this week which are also likely to be cold weather victims are a Reed Bunting, two Waxwings, a Chaffinch and a Long-tailed Tit.

It will be interesting to find out how many dead birds walkers find washed-up along the coastline this weekend. We will keep you updated on any interesting recoveries!

Thanks to Neil Calbrade for the photo.

1 comment:

  1. I walked round Foulney (Cumbria) this morning. Last year we had around 15 dead Oystercatchers washed up. This year just two freshly dead Oyks, 2 Eider and a Redshank (eaten by a peregrine). What was interesting was both Oyks were adults that had failed to complete their main moult. The legs of one of them had clearly been frozen to ice and to escape the bird had ripped the skin off one foot and leg.