12 March 2012

Eggs well before Easter

The current mild weather we are experiencing seems to have triggered some birds to start to nest. There are usually reports of the odd Collared Dove or Woodpigeon nesting early but now things are speeding up. The Nunnery Ringing Group have found Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Blackbird and Wren nests so far, whilst a Song Thrush and Blackbird sitting on eggs are the only ones so far that have progressed past the nest building stage.

On the 10 January the South Notts Ringing Group thought it would be a good idea to check their Tawny Owl nest boxes before the nesting season started and discovered a Tawny Owl sitting on 4 eggs. This is very early and the group didn't hold much hope for a successful nest but last week they ringed the only chick that was produced.

The Nest Record Scheme database shows this to be the joint earliest nest record ever! Joint with two other records. On the ringing database we have four chicks ringed in January from the 1980s, six ringed in February and quite a few in March but none before the 5th. Most records of chicks ringed are near the end of March. (This information only includes electronic records).

The Tawny Owls we are following on the BTO website laid their first egg on 26th February and the female is now sitting on three eggs.

Thanks to Jim Lennon for letting us know and to Herbert & Howells for the photo.


  1. Hiya, we have a web cam Tawny Owl box in Dorchester. They've obviously bred very early, I reckon eggs were laid in late December. Today I photographed the two chicks which left the box over a week ago and are two adult sized bundles of fluff!

  2. @Bomber I have a web cam watching a tawny that is sitting on eggs laid from 28th April! Last egg laid 4th May. More on Twitter account TheParsonageOwl.
    I'd be interested to hear more of your experiences.
    . . Ben