The team of volunteers at Moorend Spout have been celebrating news that three young kestrels and three young barn owls successfully reached fledgling stage at various points in July after hatching from nest boxes installed at the nature reserve.
The barn owls were ringed in July by Chris Sperring of the Hawk and Owl Trust, ably assisted by Trevor Riddle from Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group, according to a representative for the Nailsea Environment and Wildlife Trust (NEWT), which owns and manages the nature reserve, located off of Pound Lane.
The spokesperson described the news as “an outstanding success for our nature reserve”, adding that it also showed the ability of the meadow to provide enough food in the form of field voles found in the long grass to produce several healthy birds of prey.
While sometimes spotted hovering near motorways, kestrels have declined rapidly in recent years due to changes in farming practices. Barn owls, meanwhile, routinely face a multitude of hazards, from the roads, where they get hit by lorries, to the general tidying up of the countryside which has led to the loss of much of their traditional habitat.
“Nature reserves like ours, with long grass which supports a good population of voles and mice, will increasingly be the last refuge of the barn owl,” the spokesperson for NEWT said. “It would be unthinkable to lose them all together, so we will hope for a brighter future for them with help from more nest boxes now being provided.”
Over the winter months the volunteers plan to clean out the owl box and replace the kestrel box with a recycled plastic one, since these are now thought to stay cooler on the inside than wooden ones, making them preferable.
Pictured: The owlets at Moorend Spout were ringed by Chris Sperring in July