Mid Cheshire Barn
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Calendar - Autumn

September - October

The young should have left the nest by now and be wandering in search of their own territories and although studies show that most young owls remain fairly close to their parents territory it is during this period that owls may be seen in unexpected locations.

In England and Wales the average brood size on leaving the nest is three young, but if the food supply is plentiful there will be more than enough to go round and occasionally as many as seven chicks may be reared. They take their first flight when nine weeks old; travelling steadily further afield over the following weeks until they eventually find vacant habitat and establish their own territories, often within a few miles of their birthplace. Of the three which usually leave the nest, usually only one survives to breed the following year. It has been calculated that this average of three must be acheived in Cheshire for a viable barn owl population to survive but the current average is 2.2 (several known nest sites were inaccessible in 2000 but this would not sigificantly alter this figure).

Barn owls have a long breeding season the longest of any owls. Experts sometimes disagree as to whether or not barn owls will raise a second brood in a good summer as some argue that any second clutch of eggs laid is a replacement for a failure from earlier on in the year.

All images Ian Philip Jones, no permission to use any of them is implied.