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owls in the roof


Feuillant

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For the last few weeks I have heard what sounds like snoring of a fairly gentle kind coming from various parts of our house and barn.

It's a sort of slightly high pitched snore which starts up at about 6.30 and carries on till 9pm or so.

I know they are owls making the noise as I have seen them fly our of the masonry - but can any-one tell me what sort?

They are not barn owls as they are quite dark - unless they are the young.  Wingspan is, at a guess, 40 centimetres, maybe a little less.

They clearly live in a colony and have been there for at least 4 months - maybe more.

We welcome their arrival as they should keep down the mouse population, and it means that the fouines who used to live up there have had to move out - hooray!

So, what are they and how should we look after them?

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I think you'll find that these are barn owls - they vary in colour from almost white to quite a dark brown.

I don't think you need to look after them, just keep their living conditions as are they are without disturbing them.

I have kept various injured or young owls in the UK until they were fit to release and I used to buy day-old chicks for them - after they were released they used to come back and demand feeding - but only for a day or two.

How I envy you - my favourite birds.

Hoddy
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With a wingspan of that size they are either very young Barn owls, or the other possibility is Little owls, wing span would be about right, colour as well, but the snoring doesn't quite fit.

Both will use buildings, but either way it's a very late family if they are together in the same place, how many are there?

You will know the difference by the cry when they are out in the trees, both are very distinctive and clearly different from each other.

Chris

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Thanks everyone (why the groan, Cassis?), I guess it's mostly barn owls plus some others who come along to join in.  I never realised that they were birds that enjoyed company!

There are lots of them - maybe 30 - and in asking some of our neighbours they say the house was well known for having the house with the owls - and the crane - but that's the mechanical sort...

So they are back - and we are delighted.

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30 owls???  Owls are very territorial, a Barn owl will have it's area and will not allow another near unless it's the opposite sex, same for Tawny owls. They even "fight" with their own young when it's time for them to go and find their own space. That's what all the noise is about at this time of year, marking territory and calling for a mate.

Chris

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I have shared my bedroom in France with a barn owl and her offspring for years,she has reared at least 15 young in my fireplace sometimes she has two, sometimes just one,how she gets down the chimney I have not a clue,but when the youngens are ready to fly she starves them out and they perch on the top and she feeds them there for a few days,she then gets them to the nearest tree and eventually they are flying everywhere.We wait eagerly in late August to see them, we know when its close because they are snoring very loud and she doesnt come near.Luckily we have a street lamp outside the gate so we sit and watch and eventually they come to the top of the chimney and sit and wait for their mother to bring them some food.It is a wonderful sight,I have not the heart to use my fireplace and I really need to ,but just put it off for another year, thinking well this is  maybe the year she does not use it as a nursery, my french neighbours laugh at my sentimental ways, but how can I interfere with nature,they are such amazing birds, incidently when she is not in my chimney she lives in my barn, but obviously does not think it is safe enough to raise a family.And oh yes, I have every sort of earplug you can imagine other people take sun tan lotion on their hols, not me, earplugs serious kit for a goodnights sleep.
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