Bowland Eagle Owl Success Reported by World Owl Trust
The announcement made by the World Owl Trust that a pair of Eagle Owls successfully fledged two owlets in the Dunsop Valley is very welcome but not at all surprising. All summer we have been hearing reports that at least one owl had been observed carrying prey in the Whitendale Valley. Raptor Politics also stated in a previous post after the reported failure of the first nesting attempt, if left alone there was a distinct possibility the pair of owls would relay eggs in a more secure location. What was surprising however, why was a syndicate shooting party permitted to shoot in the Eagle Owl territory in the first place; why on earth didn’t United Utilities prevent this sort of activity from taking place on their property?
Anyone with a sound knowledge of Eagle Owl behaviour would have known the likely consequences of disturbance at such a critical time, especially the kind of disturbance caused by anyone shooting any where near or within a known breeding territory. This was not the first time United Utilities management had allowed similar disturbance to take place close to where the Eagle Owls were breeding on their property. A similar incident was reported to United Utilities after one of their tenants had been seen planting sapling trees in the spring below the nesting site in the Whitendale valley several years ago. On this occasion the disturbance was only prevented after a member of the North West Raptor Group had reported what was going on to United Utilities.
Following the failure of the first nesting attempt by Bowland’s Eagle Owls (their egg(s) were allegedly smashed following deliberate disturbance by humans on the weekend of 24/25 March) we are delighted to announce the successful fledging of two owlets on the United Utilities Estate in 2012.
Although what was believed to be the usual resident breeding pair were present in their territory at the beginning of the year, we became concerned by the lack of calling or courtship behaviour after 6 January. However, we put this down to the horrendous weather during that month, plus the disturbance effect of a Pheasant shoot on 1st February which might well have caused the pair to move site for a while as this species is highly sensitive to disturbance at their breeding sites early in the season. End.
This years success brings the total number of fledged owlets on the United Utilities estate since 2007 to 15, this figure would have been higher had 3 owlets contained within a second nest in 2010 not been allowed to starve to death after the mysterious disappearnce from the site of the adult female. We must also remind our readers of the four abandoned Eagle Owl eggs found deserted (2006) in the Whitendale valley after contractors working on the estate had installed a stock fence opposite the nest. A second nest containing 4 smashed eggs was found in 2007.
2006 nest containing 4 abandoned eggs after disturbance caused by fencing contractor
Bowland nest containg three owlets
These are the certified figures of owlets fledged for each year since 2007 on the United Utilities estate: – 2007 (3), 2008 (2), 2009 (1), 2010 (3), 2011 (4), 2012 (2).
The important question which we know can never be answered, how many of these fledged owlets remain alive today?
To read more on this story go to the World Owl Trust web site.
3 comments to Bowland Eagle Owl Success Reported by World Owl Trust
Good stuff – but now that its public knowledge I wouldn’t rate their chance of repeating it next year given the war on raptors in this part of the UK:
Editor’s Comment. Jimmy you may well be right, but we feel that because there are no longer any Hen Harriers to look after, the protection of the Eagle Owl may well be all that is left to protect.
heard from a local that R.S.P.B.were invoved in nest distubance .they were eating the harrier chics .
Editor’s Comment. Bob we thank you for taking the trouble to send this comment, but we find the information difficult to accept on face value. For one thing there were no hen harrier chicks to eat this year, and if any had been eaten in previous years everyone would have heard about it. Can you PLEASE send more information?
Well done RP for keeping our Eagle Owls away from persecution. Also well done to the Eagle Owls in Whitendale. Although not very happy about Michael Demain being given police permission to remove a clutch of eagle owl eggs from a nest several years ago without any licence in the Whitendale valley for finger printing after he had entered the nest a few days earlier causing unnecessary disturbance.