Forest of Bowland Eagle Owls- The World Owl Trust still seeking an elite team to protect nests.

Followers are reminded that at the beginning of April Raptor Politcs highlighted that the protection of the Forest of Bowland Eagle Owls had been passed on from the RSPB and United Utilities to the World Owl Trust. At the time we welcomed this move, because when the sites were being monitored on behalf of the RSPB by their voluntary wardens, each year the failure rate of nests had been less than acceptable due to unnecessary disturbance at one of the most critical periods. Occupied nests were being visited just as eggs were being laid, and in the middle of the day. Not a good idea, as we are constantly reminded by the same individuals tasked with their protection.



The two Eagle Owl nests found last year on the United Utilities estate containing clutches of long abandoned eggs.

Last season Raptor Politics published information which otherwise would have been kept secret, namely all 4 nesting attempts in the Forest of Bowland by Eagle Owls failed having been found abandoned at the end of the season. We had hoped that by transferring responsibility to an independent organisation the success of each nest would improve under the stewardship of the WOT.  We have now learned that the WOT, instead of initiating  an experienced elite group of volunteer as promised, the trust have contacted at least one bird of prey centre seeking experienced volunteers from the public to watch and protect nests this season. We just hope that anyone who applies for this important role is not only experienced, but they are able to do a better job better than their irresponsible predecessors did.

What is difficult to understand at this time of year, eggs contained within most eagle owl nests should have hatched. Any protection/monitoring scheme for the Bowland eagle owls should have been up and running many weeks ago to avoid a repeat of last year’s disaster.

Had the nests not been visited by individuals who should have known better when containing eggs or small owlets, there would have been no requirement for such a scheme  in the first place. Disappointingly this  advice was NOT followed by a small number of people resulting in a predicable out come.

Eagle Owl Paul-7675

One of three owlets allowed to starve to death on the United Utilities estates at a nest being monitored by RSPB volunteers.

According to the World Owl Trust, despite the efforts of the RSPB warden and their voluntary wardens, in recent years these magnificent birds have been increasingly harried and disturbed by people with their own agendas. This curious claim remains just as misleading  today as it did when the WOT first published it. Raptor Politics would like to reiterate, we have always been confident there was no supporting evidence to substatiate the WOT’s statement. At the beginning of April we asked the WOT  to provide the proof  of their claims. As expected, and not surprising, the WOT failed to come forward with any evidence what so ever. Why, because the WOT knew full well the evidence never existed; it was simply a red herring to divert blame away from those who had really been responsible.

Dead Eagle Owl

One of the dead owlets left in their nest to starve instead of being saved

Placing the politics into perspective, the only evidence available supports what we have always believed, occupied Eagle Owl nests on the United Utilities estate were only disturbed by those tasked with their protection and no one else .

Related Article: Forest of Bowland Eagle Owls: 2014 update

2 comments to Forest of Bowland Eagle Owls- The World Owl Trust still seeking an elite team to protect nests.

  • Owl Man

    The serial nest visitors are the only people who appear to have visited these nests and should face up to their failings. After all they have been telling other bird watchers for years they must never disturb nesting eagle owls in the breeding season when laying eggs or brooding small young.

    Instead of looking for an elite team which does not exist, the WOT should do what they were asked to do, protect these magnificent birds themselves.

    It appears to me looking outside for an elite team supports the view held by many birders, the WOT does not have faith in the voluntary wardens who have been monitoring these birds for a number of years. This then leads one to ask, what exactly are these individual going to be doing in Bowland now there are not many raptor nests to disturb or protect?

  • skydancer

    An elite team, all anyone needs to do is sit opposite the territory on the road and stop anybody going near the nest, is it going to be a 24hr watch if not then its pointless,as it is now the end of april the eggs will be ready for hatching, if not already hatched, so half the job will be over or the damage could be already done by bowland’s serial nest visitors.

    Editor’s Comment. Skydancer, no one can stop anyone going near or into an Eagle Owl nest. Eagle Owls are regarded as an alien species in the UK, and therefore not protected as a Schedule 1 species. Disturbance of a non Schedule 1 species is not an offence. As far as the elite team are concerned, they can do nothing other than watch. If anyone should try and physically prevent someone going to the nest, they may find themselves facing an assault charges at the very least.

    However just to clarify the situation, Eagle Owls and their young are protected under existing legislation. Anyone who kills an Eagle Owl or steals eggs from a nest would be breaking the law.