Owls in abundance

by Pippa Greenwood

This has been the best year I have ever known for wildlife. The local owl population has trebled...

Owls, John Baker, bigstockphoto.comThis has been the best year I have ever known for wildlife. The local owl population has trebled and we've spent many a happy evening crouching by the upstairs window or sometimes sitting on the dining room table in early evening watching the parent owls feeding what seems like an unbelievable quantity of meals to their young, and then, in recent weeks, its been fascinating, and I must admit often rather amusing watching the young owls learn to fly, and attempt to balance on the top of the nearby roof - grace and elegance is something an owl obviously takes many weeks to learn!

A fantastic sight and I feel really honoured that they have decided to breed here. Smaller birds have been here in abundance too - the house sparrow numbers seem to be right up again (despite the attentions of the visiting sparrow hawk!) and they seem to be producing multi-broods in every bit of the extension roof! I had hoped that the three young owls that were raised here would have been fed so many rodents that the mouse levels would be down...but no.

Nature has supplied an over abundance of these too, never before have I had such problems with mice in the greenhouse - the sweet corn crop-to-be was eventually abandoned after the third sowing was eaten down and rooted out of the trays, yesterday I was cleaning some rubbish and grabbed the closest pair of gardening gloves I could find, only to find that the fingers were stuffed full of seeds (yes, my seeds!) A mouse larder, it seems!

They must be acrobats with high-wire training to get to those gloves and no doubt the next generation is already in training, well fuelled with seedlings and seeds! They are driving me wild, but you know, somehow I just can't bear to do anything too drastic to them!

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Gardeners' World Web User 25/09/2009 at 20:28

when I plant bulbs in pots to stop squirrels taking them I place up turned hanging baskets over them and anker them down with bamboo until they are big enough, then the pests leave them alone.

Gardeners' World Web User 25/09/2009 at 20:29

bye the way Pippa the owls are beautiful lovely picture.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:29

I have also had the very noticable presence of mice around my vegetable garden this year, but they haven't as yet become a 'pest'. Its the squirrels that are becoming a problem, all the effort of planting bulbs this autumn has been wastedb as they have all been dug up! Any suggestions?