Village’s barn owls may be record breakers

Barn owls ANL-141010-143549001
Barn owls ANL-141010-143549001

This year has been a fantastic one for barn owls in South Lincolnshire, and maybe even a record breaker in one village.

So says Nicholas Watts, owner of Vine House Farm Bird Foods in Deeping St Nicholas.

“Broods of six have been quite common and we have had several second broods.

“In 30 years of recording barn owl nests I have never recorded anything like this year.”

He added: “On my farm alone I have had 13 pairs breeding and they have produced 63 young.

“In the parish of Deeping St Nicholas 100 barn owls have been reared, something that might never happen again.”

Mr Watts thinks that 100 barn owls reared in one parish in one year without any artifivial food may be a British record.

“Their food is mainly field voles which have been very plentiful this year after two years of weather that did not suit voles.

“The main food of a field vole is young grass shoots but a very wet summer like we had in 2012 stops them breeding successfully,” he said.

“Following the very wet summer we had a cold winter and a very cold spring which stopped the grass growing so no young shoots of grass.

“By April 2013 the vole population was at an all-time low and so was the barn owl population.

“The drier than average summer of 2013, the mild winter and nice summer weather this year has been good weather for voles so they have bred very well, providing barn owls with a plentiful supply of food and any animal or bird that has a surplus of food will increase in numbers.”