BOPH Barn Owl Project Hampshire & Bird Of Prey Hospital

The Little Owl

Featured Image
Featured Image

The Little Owl Athene noctua is an introduced species. A diurnal bird, it is active throughout the day. Not only seen but heard, as the range or calls, from yaps to screeches is unmistakeable.

Vigilant observation and constant hiding are essential. Most other mammals and birds outweigh this small raptor standing at approximately 20cm tall.

White feathers around the eyes enhance the look of surprise or create a grumpy look. These eye shapes are replicated in light coloured feathers on the back of the head. This is to offer a semblance of protection from the unwanted approach of others by avoiding eye contact. A decoy of delay offering time to hide.

Body language is entertaining, from tall thin stretches to short hunched crouches. Once disturbed it may bob and call before disappearing for cover.

They don’t move far from their range. Using bushes, old buildings and trees to hide and shelter. Their flight is a short flap-flap-glide, similar to the woodpecker. Their feed source is varied. They will eat small mammals, worms, beetles, reptiles and amphibians.

For more detailed mapping of the presence of these owls take a look at The Little Owl Project UK

Little Owl Nest Boxes

BOPH has set out to play its part in helping support the remaining Little Owls in the area with a set of purpose built nest boxes.

For those who watch and count these birds, concern is significant as numbers dwindle. Undoubtedly affected by the chemical input, the essential crop treatments that provide optimum harvest may well be significantly responsible for decline.

The Little Owl has its work cut out to find and remain in the nooks and crannies that offer hidden protection and plentiful food.

A rescued Little Owl named Athena now remains a permanent reminder of Florence Nightingale. Immortalised and preserved, a rescued bird that accompanied Florence for some years.

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