This evening we met up with Moxey, Steve and Natasha to check some nest boxes for Kestrels and Jackdaws. In the past two years, Jackdaws have started to occupy some of our farmland nestboxes, displacing both Barn Owl and Kestrels. Last year however, there was a small 'fightback' from Team Barn Owl, with some boxes being reclaimed.
Following the snowfall of December 2010, the BTO reported a large number of Barn Owl being found dead. The snow cover will have made hunting particularly difficult and so many birds will have starved with prey being so inaccessible. At one farm, we found a Barn Owl dead, it was ringed, but I haven't had a chance to get the details.
The first farm that we visited had Kestrel in occupancy, the adult was lifted off the nest to reveal only two chicks, both too small to ring, so a repeat visit will be necessary.
We moved on to find some more boxes that were occupied by Jackdaws:
Of the four Kestrel nests we visited, only one had chicks and three only had eggs. Kestrels are usually some of the first chicks that we ring in our boxes, aside from Tawny Owls. It's unusual that so many of the nests are at such an early stage as we have usually ringed most of our Kestrels by the last week of May.
We also ringed our first Stock Doves of the year with another nest that will be ready in a week or two.
We also managed to check two Barn Owl boxes, both of which had young, but are at least two weeks away from being old enough to ring.
Jackdaw - 6
Stock Dove - 2
Kestrel - 1