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owl pellets


Yvonne
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We are finding droppings and owl pellets on one of our balconies.We presume the birds are stiing on the rafters of the roof above?

Can anyone tell me if they will be there during the night or the day and how we can remove them / move them on humanely? It appears that this spot has become a favourite although we have never seen them!

Thanks,

Abi

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Tricky one without a better idea of what is creating the pellets, if you can give a better description of the pellets size and where exactly you think the bird could be sitting. The implication from the way that you have written it is that the bird is in an exterior situation.   If you would rather, E-mail me your phone number and I will talk to you on the phone.

Its important to get it right because there are very strict laws regarding all birds of prey.

Chris

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There's a world of fun in owl pellets. I used to take them into school (when I was a kid) and take them apart for the nature table. I had a great collection of vole skulls...

As Chris says, you will find that birds of prey and their nesting areas are protected. But I'd think it a great thing to have an owl nesting in my eaves!
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Oh, don't get me wrong, we think its a fabulous thing but we run a guest house and the guests don't appreciate all the mess on their balcony!

At the moment we have 6 guests on that balcony with a small torch trying to work out exactly what it is.

Do other birds of prey eject these pellets or is it only owls as the birds head seems to be more like  a buzzard..its about 10 or 12 inches tall from what we can see.

Thanks!

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Sounds as though it may be a kestrel which is why I was trying to get more information. Kestrel pellets are pale grey when dry, sort of spongy feel and pointed at one end, a bit flattened and about 3cm long. If it's a kestrel you should see it during the day when it brings food back to tear apart and eat. 

Is it using a perch of some kind and do you see it during the daytime?

If it active at night then it is an Owl! Probably a Barn Owl but just possibly a Tawny Owl.

If it is using an outside perch only for killing or roosting you could try wrapping an old sheet or towel round the perch and it will find another perch.

Chris.

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Certainly in a rural setting if you have, for example, a metal post sticking out of your wall for electricity or something of a similar nature, there is no reason why a kestrel shouldn't use it, I have seen examples of it. A barn owl is most likely to have its perch well under cover, either right inside a building on a beam or in a good size cavity in a wall.  Tawny owls will normally use large trees, but again, we have one which occasionally uses a pole sticking out from the house wall.  Little owls are also a possibility and have little objection to human presence.  Sparrow hawks?    The truth is that there are likelihoods but never any certainties in the way some birds will behave.

Kestrels and peregrines have been known to nest in window boxes in cities in recent years.

Type of pellet and pooh is a good identification if you can't actually see the bird.

Chris

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Fascinating. We have owls in trees/barns near us, and we often see hawks hunting in the pastures, but rarely near people, they seem pretty nervous. We often see buzzards perching on telegraph poles and the better sort of fence posts, and occasionally hawks. Seeing a buzzard fly up to a pole from the ground is a very impressive sight!
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[quote user="Dicksmith"]Fascinating. We have owls in trees/barns near us, and we often see hawks hunting in the pastures, but rarely near people, they seem pretty nervous. We often see buzzards perching on telegraph poles and the better sort of fence posts, and occasionally hawks. Seeing a buzzard fly up to a pole from the ground is a very impressive sight![/quote]

I agree, Dick, and even MORE impressive was the one that flew up and landed on my outstretched hand, (luckily, a hand WITH gauntlet), at a Rapter show in the Dordogne last summer. WHAT a beautiful creature!

We have a barn owl that lives in one of our barns, and has been known to visit the other one. I know it's been, 'cos it leaves pellets and lime everywhere under it's favourite perch, which just happens to be right over my caravan[^o)]

We now have to have the 'van covered with a blue tarp when it's in there...........and I naively thought it would keep cleaner than in the UK.[:'(] Took me AGES to get the lime off it, first year!

Alcazar

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Hi
well we have inspected the poo, its very white with light brown or tan bits in it; and its very difficult to clean off! the pellets are mid grey colour and are about 4cm long with a very definate point at one end whilst the other end is flat.

Last night, someone who saz it thought it was a sparrow owl ? it doesn't seem to be there during daylight hours and its position is very exposed. this is the north corner of our house and, at the moment, we have north winds of about 50km per hour! whatever it is it's brave and hardy!

thanks for your help so far.

Abi

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Hi Abi,     Looks like you have got yourself a Kestrel! 

Chances are that it has more then one "killing post" in its territory and that your place is just where it roosts at night and chucks up.

Sticking my neck out a bit, it shouldn't be more then a bit of a pain in the backside for it if you prevent it from using that spot to roost if you really can't tolerate the aerial bombardment.  On the other hand, it's keeping your rodents down a bit in the vicinity.   I would have had far greater concern if it had been a Barn Owl.

The thing to be really careful about, especially with Barn Owls, is blocking them in and trapping them or doing conversion work in the breeding season when they are in residence.

Cheers, Chris

 

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Last summer I was out in the fields at dusk and saw this

enormous owl (don’t know what type but it was a light’ish brown) fly in, swoop

round and land of a fence post.  It was

quite close (20m or so away) and in the peaceful surroundings made me realise

how lucky I am to live where I do.

 

Ian

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[quote user="chris pp"]

I would have had far greater concern if it had been a Barn Owl.

The thing to be really careful about, especially with Barn Owls, is blocking them in and trapping them or doing conversion work in the breeding season when they are in residence.

Cheers, Chris

 

[/quote]

I've been reading this thread with interest as we have a barn owl in the barn adjoining the house.  The trouble is, we're part-way through converting it into a new kitchen.  We thought he had gone but since we've had the floor concreted he has been leaving his tell-tale signs all over the new concrete, just below the main beam!!  All along I've been upset at the prospect of eventually making him/her homeless (I think there's only one, we've only ever seen one) but now you've got me really worried!  When is breeding season?  And what were you meaning about relocating it?  I presumed we would just block up the holes into the barn and it would go and find somewhere else - like the barn about 200m up the hill.

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Breeding for Barn Owls commences from early spring but territories will have already keen claimed, this is a general rule for barn owls anyway as each one has an area that is its own all the time. There is more than one issue because firstly you don't know if it is a male or a female and secondly it is thought that only a maximum of about 25% of females manage to breed in any given year.

It is quite easy when in the process of conversion of a barn or grenier to build in a barn owl box or nest / roosting space, this should be high up with an access hole of the right dimensions to the exterior, on the inside of the building a box or other construction, again of the right dimensions, is attached to the wall where the hole is, it doesn't take much space and can easily be hidden from view.  This is not difficult and I have constructed these when doing conversions for people as well as "building in" bat spaces and other bird cavities.  A lot of these features are now being used on new builds and many towns and communes in different parts of France are designing these into new public buildings with advice and co-operation from the LPO (Legue pour la protection des Oiseaux).. This may be something you could consider?

Other than that you will have to make your own decision, bearing in mind the law and the fact that this fabulous bird, admired by so many, is in decline.

Please do ask if you require more information or if you have any other questions, if you are interested I can supply you with construction details.

Chris

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Hi Chris

Don't know what my husband is going to think of this - he's got his work cut out as it is!  However, I'd be interested in a bit more info.  The trouble is, we're going to be taking the ceiling right into the apex of the roof and the end wall of the barn, which I imagine is the only place suitable for an entrance (and where it is currently coming in) is a good 3ft thick, so to make a new hole is going to be some feat!

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If you E-mail me your E-mail address I will send some info with dimensions.

[email protected]

I found another Barn owl this morning dead by the side of the road, third in as many weeks, quick check to make sure it was dead and wasn't ringed.  Barn owls aren't ringed in France, but best to check in case it found its way here from Germany which personally I think unlikely in the extreme, still only takes a second.

Chris

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