Sunday, 4 July 2010
My parents live in West Sussex, where my Dad checks 250 Barn Owl nest boxes every summer. The children and I did a marathon day with him, lifting the ladder on and off the roof-rack to check 16 boxes. Some were empty, some had roosting adult owls, some had Stock Doves, and some had Barn Owl chicks in a variety of sizes. The smaller birds were covered in white fluff, while another box had fully feathered chicks, almost ready to fledge.
It was great to show the children an ecosystem so neatly laid out in front of them - the growing owls, the pellets on the floor full of Vole and Shrew skulls, and the flower-meadow outside where the food-supply came from. We took some of the pellets home to open up. The skulls, jaws and leg-bones had beautiful organic shapes - revealed by the owls.