Welcome to the LDV NNR ringing blog, this blog is designed to share the experiences, findings and tales from a group of dedicated ringers. We specialise in conservation orientated research projects, largely focusing on wildfowl, waders, owls and birds of conservation concern, in and around the Vale of York NNR's.

NB - Whilst the purpose of this blog was initially designed to cover our nationally important wildfowl ringing activities, it now also features wildlife and work posts, explaining how we manage the NNR for both wildlife and people.

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Wednesday 15 January 2014

12/01/14 - Owls about that then!

Last week whilst working at Thornton Ellers we decided to check the Ash tree which over the years has been a regular roost/nesting site for Tawny Owls. Plenty of stealth is required to reach the bottom of the tree without the birds realising – snap a twig underfoot and you’ve got no chance! Once there the hand net is put up against the tree hole and with any luck the owl flies in – it worked on this occasion – thankfully – as the bird we found in the net wasn’t the two from the previous goes but one which was initially ringed back in 2000! It was ringed then as a ‘5’ on the 11/03/00 meaning it was a chick the year before, so we now know that it has reached the age of at least 15! 

Adult male - 10/01/14

This is the oldest Tawny Owl we have on the valley records – you wouldn’t have thought it though looking at him with pristine feathers and alert eyes watching our every move. Tawny Owls are sedentary birds, seldom moving far. From the seven recoveries we have from birds ringed in the valley, four have now been re-trapped or found dead within 100 metres of the original ringing location. One bird moved the 4KM from Sutton-Upon-Derwent to the Wheldrake area whilst the two longest recorded movements are of 12 & 14 KM. Last January (10/01/13) we ringed a new male in the same Ash tree, which we wondered if it might be the mate of the female ringed in the same tree hole in October of the same winter (30/10/12).

Adult male - 10/01/13

Adult female - 30/10/12

At present the local Tawny Owls are becoming increasingly vocal, which reflects the fact that they are traditionally early nesters, one individual has been heard recently around the NNR Base. In previous years birds have been found at this time of year already incubating clutches or even with young chicks. Tawny Owls like a lot of owl species had a very poor year in 2013, so it’ll be interesting to see how this year unfolds…..hopefully for the better.

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