Delight as chicks hatch in purpose-built tower in Bourne

Owls tagging with the Len Pick Trust EMN-140618-180620001
Owls tagging with the Len Pick Trust EMN-140618-180620001
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The first chicks have been born in a purpose-built owl tower in Bourne.

The Len Pick Trust, with the assistance of conservationist of Bob Sheppard and students at Peterborough Regional College, built the owl tower off Meadow Drove.

Owls tagging with the Len Pick Trust EMN-140618-180631001

Owls tagging with the Len Pick Trust EMN-140618-180631001

The tower was to replace a barn belonging to the Len Pick Trust that the barn owls had nested in for 25 years, which had become unsafe.

Using reclaimed bricks from the barn, students from Peterborough Regional College built the four metre high tower in the middle of the field as a replacement nesting site.

Earlier this week, the young barn owl chicks were ringed under licence by Bob Sheppard and Alan Ball of the Barn Owl Conservation Network.

There were five healthy youngsters in the nest at the top of the tower.

Bob, who designed the tower, was thrilled the owls had used it so quickly after it was built.

He said this was a great result.

The owl chicks are seven weeks old and will soon be flying. They will leave the area in late summer and find their own nest site. It is hoped the adults will remain and breed in the tower every year.

Len Pick trustee, John Freear said: “We had to demolish the old barn for safety reasons and knowing that it had been a home for a resident barn owl for many years we wanted to mitigate the loss of its home.

“After consultation with Bob the outline design was agreed and to widen the benefit of the scheme we suggested that Peterborough College might like to become involved in the final design and construction to give their building course students practical experience.

“The students carried out the work over last winter and spring and we are really pleased that their work has paid off.

“The project has been really worthwhile as thanks to the sales of reclaimed materials and the help of local farmers and suppliers the project has been broadly cost neutral and we have also been able to form a wildlife friendly area on the site of the old barn.

“We hope that in a few weeks the wild flower seed that we have spread will give a patch of colour to the area and help the wildlife.”

Bob Sheppard added: “During last year as a result of the hard winter and spring, the owl population in Lincolnshire has decreased by 60 per cent and we are delighted the tower is helping to rebuild the population locally.”