Last weekend we set off to local piece of farmland where Barn Owls nest in an old tree and we were going to see if there were any Barn Owl pellets or small mammal skulls that get washed down during heavy rain through the tree cavity's and come out at the bottom of the tree. On the way we met a local lady working her dog in the past she has let us film the Badgers in her garden and on passing we told her where we were going and as she is a fellow wildlife appreciator she new the Barn owls nested and hunted in the area as the tree is on a regular dog walkers route. She told us that the tree had collapsed and that she had informed the farmer about the tree who then came and checked it out but I nothing about what they are planning to do about the loss of a Barn Owl nest site but as I have seen the local Owl group putting up Boxes on trees on farmland in the area there are many other places for the pair to use I just hope they do.
It looks like some kind of woodworm/insect had eaten alot of the tree leaving piles of saw dust and and rotting pieces of wood with holes and burrows in.
Jackdaws also used the Owl hollow some years as well as the other smaller crevices in the tree for nesting as the twigs came be seen blocking up the rest of the trunk making the rest of the hollow still intact.
After a chat about the tree and other wildlife related topics we arrived at the tree and after a quick check that it was safe to approach the area we noticed that the whole of the inside of the tree was hollow and it had split halfway down sending nesting material, Owl pellets and branches everywhere and at the base of the tree was a pile of sticks, small mammal skulls and buried underneath all the nesting material and saw dust was 2 dirty white eggs and one was cracked underneath with rotten egg leaking out and the other had a crack in the bottom and the yolk had leaked luckily but the shell was intact and hopefully I can fill with plaster of Paris to keep the shell intact and then I can add to my other finds in my garden office.
I will try to find out whats happening with the tree and if it will have to come down but I will also find out more on the conservation to help the Barn Owl's on my local patch but if the tree stays up the area where the hollow is looks in tact because its above the split in the tree and my only guess is that the eggs had fallen down into the tree cavity which probably happened during the nesting season as other have seen the adults taking in food so I am guessing the rest of the clutch hatched and fledged but I have only seen the Barn Owls once and that was in June on warm summer evening I just hope it was not the last time I see them hunting in this area on that sort of evening.
Thanks for reading