Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

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Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by Alpha Female » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:24 pm

Snow fun for barn owls as numbers reported dying this winter grows

December 2010. The RSPB is receiving a growing number of calls from members of the public who have discovered dead barn owls recently. Although owls have been found dead in a range of locations, there has been a significant number found in barns and out-buildings.

Starving
Experts at the RSPB believe it is because the cold weather is making food almost impossible to find and the birds are dying of starvation within their roosting locations.

The wildlife charity is worried that the current big freeze can only make this situation worse and is appealing for vigilance where the birds are known to be roosting in the coming weeks.

Barn owls feed on small mammals like voles and mice, and with the ground frozen and covered in snow, this food is almost impossible to find.

Younger owls suffer most
The problem is likely to be most serious for barn owls born this year, that are less experienced at dealing with difficult conditions. It is thought that these first year birds will account for a high percentage of the mortality.

All owl death reports received so far are about barn owls, and the RSPB believes this is likely to be because they commonly live close to man, usually in out-houses, barns and farm buildings, so they are easier to notice.

Mark Thomas, RSPB Investigations Officer says: "We have been receiving a growing number of calls from people who have discovered dead barn owls in recent days and we believe it's because they are starving in the cold weather as the icy, snowy conditions make their main food sources like voles and mice much harder to find.

What to do?
"Although practically there is little that can be done to supplement the diets of barn owls, farmers and members of the public are encouraged to remain vigilant and report any sick or injured looking owls to a wildlife rescue centre immediately. It's very distressing for both the birds and the people who discover them, as they are beautiful and charismatic species of the British countryside.

"Prompt action could save the life of a starving bird and once they've been fed up they should soon be fit for release back in the original location."

Barn owls are most commonly seen at dusk, in open country, along field edges, riverbanks and roadside verges. They nest and roost in buildings found near these habitats, such as farm outbuildings and barns.

Despite the UK Barn owl population doing well in recent years, a high mortality event such as this could have serious conservation implications.
Source: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/barn-owls010.html

It's quite unfortunate that barn owls have a hard time hunting in the snow. Hopefully conditions in the UK will get better and there will be less snow so the owls can hunt.
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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by RabidLynx » Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:40 pm

I love Barn Owls! They are my favorites owls! It's sad to see them die.

Also, I found on page "17" in wildlife, the first topic was this one, and the last person who posted on it was called "Guest", and he posted in 1969... very weird.

Anyways, back on topic. I hope the Barn Owls don't die! :( :( :(
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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by -x-Zaroque-x- » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:47 am

Interesting, this would happen, since Winter has kicked in hard this winter, so it's no supprise that the chicks are freezing to death.
Sorry to hear this, thanks Alpha Female!
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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by Atropine » Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:59 pm

We've had problems with owls unable to find food where we live too; I myself have seen a dead barn owl, it was horrible. :C Thanks for sharing this article Alpha Female, and hopefully the barn owls will be able to recover.^^
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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by Thandi » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:34 pm

Well, that is quite dissapointing, I was always intrigued by barn owls.

Anyways, hopefully they will brave through the winter until spring.
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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by Maia Huntress » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:51 am

This is very saddening to hear; Barn Owls are beautiful birds and I would hate for any of them to die. :(

Thank you for sharing this!

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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by Kivia » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:13 pm

Aye, why didn't I see this sooner?!

Broke my heart when I read this; I wish there was something I could do, but alas, I'm in the US. And as the article mentioned, not much can be done except reporting an injured owl. Guess all I can hope for now is that the population doesn't decrease too much and that the bad weather conditions begin to subside so these cuties can fill up on mice and other little varmints again.

I actually read a similar story about a year ago that had something to do with barn owls dying out due to similar problems; can't remember much else about it though.
EDIT: I actually found the link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scot ... 485729.stm
With that happening just last year, and now this happening now as well, I'm afraid for the barn owl population in the UK.

Thanks for posting, Alpha~

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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by X-Akami-X » Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:41 am

That's sad. Owls are my second favorite animal, and Barn Owls are one of my favorite type.

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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by Grin » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:51 pm

Yeah, it is pretty unfortunate to hear that so many of these beautiful creatures are starving to death. I can't imagine finding them dead near my house, knowing that there's not much that I can do to help them.

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Re: Barn Owls Starving to Death in the Freeze

Post by Magnificence » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:41 pm

Its is sad, as I read it I could feel my face drooping. My favorite kind of owl is the barn owl! They are so beautiful, I hope they don't die out :( :( :( :( :(

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