North York Moors Barn Owls

North York Moors Barn Owls

I quite often go for a drive to the North York moors National Park. You can drive 5 minutes from Whitby and be in the park and surrounded by all its beauty.

To the unobservant its easy to ride through the park and see little to no wildlife at all. But if you keep your eyes peeled and you know what to look for, then it soon becomes apparent that the wildlife was there all along.

On a recent journey into the moors I was lucky enough to see: three roe deer, 2 buzzards, a badger, a sparrowhawk, and last but not least, a family of barn owls that I have been watching for a couple of months now.

Upon my arrival at the barn owls nest box, I was quite alarmed to find only 1 baby owl looking out of the box. My immediate thoughts were the others must had died. However, as the night wore on it became apparent that some of the barn owl young had now fledged the nest and were hanging out in near by trees.

At least 2 of the 3 (Maybe 4) baby owls can now fly and are hanging out in near by trees.

That leaves 1 remaining youngster in the nest who cant actually fly as yet. The parent owls are trying there best to feed the runt in the nest box.

Everytime the parents come back, they are mobbed by the young who think they are more deserving of the food.

The problem in capturing this in a photograph is that it obviously involves the birds moving.

With such low light in the copse of trees where they live, its all but impossible to use fast shutter speeds, so the only shots you can really take with any level of sucees are the ones where the birds are motionless. Any movement at all results in blur.

However I think in this image you get the jist of what’s occurring. Parent bird at the bottom has returned with food for the smallest owl in the box. One of the fledglings thinks he/she is more deserving and has been following parent closely all the way to the nest box.

The parent is clearly ignoring the older stronger fledglings whilst trying to feed up the runt of the litter.

North York Moors Barn Owls. Parent bird fighting off a strong fledgling with the aim of getting food to the youngest bird of the brood.

North York Moors Barn Owls. Parent bird fighting off a strong fledgling with the aim of getting food to the youngest bird of the brood.

Those of you familiar with my posts about Birds Of Prey will remember the barn owl family that nested in a tree last year. Im pleased to be able to tell you that those birds are nesting in the same site as last year, and on my last visit both parents were hunting and returning to the tree with food for young which you can now hear calling out from within the tree.

Some of you may also be aware that I also watch Peregrine falcons across the area. There is also some good news to come very soon on that front.

Further Reading

North York Moors National Park Barn Owl

North York Moors National Park Barn Owl