The North West Raptor Group trial night vision video in the Forest of Bowland.


Last year rumours persisted that at long last a pair of Eagle Owls in the Forest of Bowland successfully produced three fledged young. This was confirmed after the nesting site was featured by the One Show last year. The nesting ledge containing the three chicks was clearly visible, the camera taking the footage was located many hundreds of yards away.

Over the last 5 years much criticism has centred upon the actions of those individuals charged with protecting Eagle Owl nests in the Forest of Bowland. Visiting and disturbing occupied nests containing eggs or small chicks all too often has resulted in many nests being deserted.

We now learn the President of the World Owl Trust has confirmed a surveillance camera was placed at last year’s Eagle Owl nest. The reason we are being told was a determined effort to identify those individuals responsible for causing breeding Eagle Owls so much disturbance when nesting in the past. Not surprisingly the camera was able to prove no one had been filmed visiting or disturbing the nest last year.

We are not being told however that the territory must have been visited and disturbed by those individuals installing the camera in the first place; how many people on that occasion were involved. And importantly how long did the disturbance at this site last, and how many visits were made to change the camera batteries? This is where the situation becomes very interesting. Why was there a need to install a camera at last year’s nest in the first place you may ask? The camera was installed over-looking the nest under the strict secrecy. No one, other than the installers of the surveillance equipment, had any idea of what had taken place.

Our opinion is quite simple, in reality there was never a threat to last year’s nesting Eagle Owls from any external source. The fact that the camera did not record any unauthorised disturbance at last year’s nest proves our point. We strongly suggest, as we have been doing for several years that anyone, including those involved in protecting these nests, keep well away from any territory they may suspect may hold an occupied nest. If they do, this will almost certainly result in many more successful nesting attempts in the future, common sense really.

This spring the North West Raptor Group are trialling state of the art infrared night vision video equipment in Bowland. The unit is designed to capture movement throughout a predetermined period after dark. The video sample attached was captured from 500 metres over looking this site. Any disturbance captured at this or any other site will be posted immediately.

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