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Sadness as barn owl eggs in Bourne tower fail to hatch again

A female barn owl pictured in the purpose-built 'owl tower' on the outskirts of Bourne EMN-160826-143421001
A female barn owl pictured in the purpose-built 'owl tower' on the outskirts of Bourne EMN-160826-143421001

Wildlife enthusiasts hoping to see barn owl chicks born live on the internet have been left disappointed again after a second clutch of eggs failed to hatch.

As previously reported in the Mercury, a pair of barn owls nested in a purpose-built ‘owl tower’ on the outskirts of Bourne earlier this year.

The tower, funded by the Len Pick Trust, is fitted with a camera which live streams video footage of the owls.

In May, the female laid three eggs but all were eventually found to be infertile.

In July there was renewed excitement when she laid a second clutch of seven eggs. But four of the seven were eaten and the remaining three did not hatch.

Bob Sheppard, from the Barn Owl Conservation Network, said: “We were hoping that we might get lucky and see some chicks hatch from the second clutch of eggs hatch, but sadly that didn’t happen.

“The three eggs were removed under licence after it became clear they were not going to hatch.

“The good news is two did have embryos inside so we know now the owls are fertile and could go on to have chicks next year.”

It is thought the embryos did not develop further because they were not adequately incubated.

Bob added: “The female has not been the best mother this year. She didn’t incubate the eggs with any conviction and often left them to chase flies or chew feathers.

“But I’m hopeful next year she might do better.

“We’ve learnt a lot from the video footage about barn owl behaviour which we didn’t previously know.”


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