On Friday we told how our falcons’ first egg – we now have three by the way – was believed to be the first peregrine egg this year to be laid in a monitored nest in the UK.
Not to be outdone, it now appears that a tawny owl chick found in a nest box at our Brackenhurst campus could be the first to be recorded and ringed in Britain this year – and is one of the earliest recorded in the last 40 years.
The recent mild weather could be the reason for the early arrival and may have been responsible for causing the adults to nest early.
Staff found the chick, along with its mother, in a nest box made by wildlife conservation students at the campus, which is home to our School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences. A former student, who also works for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) ringed the chick under the supervision of Jim Lennon from the South Notts Ringing Group, which is part of the British Trust for Ornithology.
The chicks usually stay in the nest box for about four weeks and this one is expected to fledge the box any day.
Our Brackenhurst campus, near Southwell, is thought to be home to several pairs of adult tawny owls, which are non-migratory and so remain there all year round. Tawny owls – which are nocturnal birds of prey and mainly hunt rodents and small birds – live for about five years in the wild and are largely monogamous.
Dr Louise Gentle, the wildlife conservation programme leader, said that she was delighted with the new arrival and that it had been causing quite a stir over at Brackenhurst.
She said: “We created the nest box because there is a lack of natural breeding sites and are absolutely thrilled that the idea paid off. We really hope it is a sign of things to come and that we’ll be able to welcome more tawny owl chicks to the campus in the coming years.”
Nottingham Trent University