This month our wildlife watchers share some facts about owls
Hello everyone and welcome to our February blog.
With spring getting closer we are already starting to see more species of birds and were very excited to see a goldcrest, the UK's smallest bird, in one of the Hub’s conifer trees this month. We are also glad to see the return of the green finches to our bird table. This is especially good news as it’s a bird that has moved from green to red on the endangered list, meaning they are the highest conservation priority needing urgent attention.
It's shocking that one in four UK birds are now on this list, including the swift and house martin. Let's hope that these birds can move back up in the future, this is why the Big Garden Birdwatch is so important as this can tell the RSPB which species numbers have declined. We hope all of you that took part got some good results.
SOME GOOD NEWS
For those of you that love to watch butterflies, you will be pleased to hear that the chequered skipper, a butterfly last seen in the UK in 1976, has been reintroduced in woodland in Northamptonshire.
This work began in 2018/2019 when the species was brought over from Belgium and is really good news. 76% of the UK’s butterflies have declined in the last 40 years so let's hope that this conservation work will continue with other species.
ALL ABOUT OWLS
We have recently been looking at the owls of the UK, so have decided to share some facts with you.
- Did you know there are five different owl species in the UK? Barn owl, tawny owl, little owl, long eared owl and short eared owl.
- Owls use their ears differently to us, they use one ear to listen above and the other to listen below.
- Did you also know the colour of an owl’s eyes will tell you the time of day they hunt, and when you might see them? Birds with orange eyes, like the long eared owl, are called crepuscular birds and hunt at dusk and dawn. Birds with dark eyes, like the barn and tawny owl, are called nocturnal birds and hunt mostly at night. Birds with yellow eyes, like the short eared owl, are called diurnal birds and hunt during the day.
- Both owls and birds of prey expel pellets from their beak, which contain the things they can't digest like small animal bones. This is a bit like a cat coughing up a fur ball.
- Barn owls move silently through the air, this is an advantage when hunting, but is also a disadvantage as it means their wings are not waterproof, so barn owls cannot go hunting in heavy rain.
This month colleague Rachel R saw three foxes while out walking her dog, Claire saw muntjac deer and a brambling, which is a winter visiting bird, on a bird watching trip, while Jasmine also saw some deer.
We hope you've enjoyed this month's blog, we'll be back next month with more wildlife news, until then keep watching wildlife and help when you can.
Stephen, Craig, Mark, Jasmine, Helen, Lucie, Justin, Tim and Claire
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