Our land is absolutely full of voles. The long grass areas are ideal for them, with a thick layer of thatch allowing them to burrow underneath. In turn, this makes excellent hunting for owls and also for the weasels which I regularly see.
This post, however, concerns sadder news for our barn owls. For at the back end of last year I found a dead barn owl in one of the cast iron baths in which we store water down near the pig pen and chicken enclosure. Remarkably, I found another in the same place just a few days later. I consulted the website of the Barn Owl Trust and found that females especially, after nesting, are prone to falling into water troughs and drowning. They advocate building a raft to float on the water, but it's far from straightforward and wouldn't last long anyway. It's a shame they haven't managed to come up with a simpler solution. I have now placed a wooden cover over the offending bath.
|A sad end for an amazing bird|
But then, last week, I received an email informing me that GR87420 was in fact ringed as a nestling near Whittlesey on 9th June 2014. 96 days later I found it dead on 13th September 2014. So in it's short 3 month life it had travelled 16km from its birthplace. Not an amazing bird movement, but somewhat of a surprise nonetheless.
As a final aside, both owl corpses went into the compost bin. I like to think that the spirit of the fenland barn owl lives on in my soil.