Ian and I checked a box at a farm on Rawcliffe Moss in a barn that we expected to be occupied by Barn Owls.When it had been checked a week earlier a scratching sound had been heard from the box and so as not to cause disturbance to an incubating Barn Owl the box was left for a check in three weeks time. However, the farmers son called in at my office and said that he had found an Owl chick on the floor in the barn so he had put it back in the box. I told James that we would be round that evening to check.
If this was a young Barn Owl it would mean that they had laid extremely early. Ian climbed the ladder to the box and as he was climbing back down the ladder with the single Owl chick I thought "that's a funny Barn Owl" and of course it would have been a funny Barn Owl because it was in fact a Tawny Owl! That explained everything; the early date and the fact that the chick was outside the box. Below is a picture of Ian holding the chick just after ringing.
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