Today I had the pleasure of being invited down to March in Cambridgeshire to photograph young Tawny Owls as they were being ringed. The adult Tawnies were nesting in a purpose built 'Owl Box' set in a Walnut Tree in a large suburban garden. When I arrived the male was roosting, virtually out of sight, in an ivy-covered tree near to the house. When the sun is shining he is known to roost more in the open so as to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Not so today. The female bird was in the box keeping an eye on the three young inside. We knew that there were three young because the owners of the house and grounds have placed nest box cameras in and around the box and they keep a constant vigil on the birds. It was a proper Spring-Watch set-up.
An experienced, licenced qualified ringer from the BTO was present to ring the birds and ensure their safety. In fact everyone present seemed to be mindful of the birds' welfare above all else and the youngsters were not out of the box for more than quarter of an hour before they were safely back in their very smelly home.
The female bird meanwhile was keeping an eye on things from a thick hedge at the back of the garden.
|Three sibling Tawnies -' Los Tres Amigos'|
In 2011 1,655 Tawny Owls were ringed; 1,458 in the nest, 44 juveniles, 148 adults and five were un-aged.
Since 1909 until the end of 2011 47,010 Tawnies have been fitted with rings.
|Young Tawny Owl Strix aluco|
|Young Tawny Owl showing wing in pin|
Two other birds have lived beyond 19 years and two more have lived to be over 20 years. Others have been recovered at distances of 202km, 205km and 217 km away from their ringing sites. All of this we know because of the successes of the BTO ringing scheme.
|Young Tawny Owl |
Relaxed, safe and ready for ringing
You can check out all of the ringing information at the BTO web site here: http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/ringing/ringing-scheme
Or statistics on Tawny Owls here: http://blx1.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob7610.htm