|The contents of the Little Owl Nest|
- The Barker Boys
- Cousins working together on our family owned farm with the aim of running a commercial modern farm producing high yielding, high standard crops while maximising wildlife diversity. Brian is said to be the farmer and conservationist, whereas Patrick is a conservationist and farmer. This mix has given a new direction for the farm, building upon the work that our fathers and grandfather has done to improve the overall success of the farm business. The farm has gone from strength to strength with the farm being recognised at a national level winning the coveted National FWAG’s Silver Lapwing Award for farming and conservation in 2009 and then Patrick and Brian were named Countryside Farmer of the Year by the Farmers Weekly in 2010.
Saturday, 30 July 2011
Yellowhammer on the menu!
Little Owls will usually nest in hollow trees, holes and burrows and when building boxes for them, ones with a corridor leading to a nesting chamber seem to work best. We were very surprised to find a Little Owl's nest in the corner of the workshop at Lodge Farm, Westhorpe with only a bale of wood shavings to keep it protected. It was only the keen nose of Brian's dog which brought it to our attention and now, two healthy chicks are almost ready to fledge. I have ringed the chicks so if we come across them we will know that they are our workshop owls. They are quite mobile now and yesterday they had left the nest which gave me an opportunity to analyse what they have been eating. In the nest was evidence of beetles, ladybirds, the usual favorite foods along with worms and large insects. There was also jaw bones from 3 short tailed voles and a house mouse. The most surprising remains were of a young blackbird and an adult yellowhammer. The were alot of part grown black feathers from the blackbird and the Yellowhammer's wing and tail. The wear on the primary wing and tail feathers indicate that the bird was an adult. Although it is not possible to tell whether the bird was caught alive or scavenged already dead it certainly gave the 2 chicks a good feast. PJB