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Rare daytime sightings of barn owls at Fairburn Ings

Article Date: 2010-12-21   Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk   Comments: 0

Fairburn, North Yorkshire, England, U.K. - Visitors at Fairburn Ings RSPB nature reserve are enjoying a rare treat as barn owls - usually night creatures - are being spotted there during the day.

With temperatures at the nature reserve near Castleford languishing well below zero, the barn owls are being forced to hunt for food at all hours.

The daytime sightings of the barn owls are being described as "very special".

Michael Wilson from Fairburn Ings said: "We have had some brilliant sightings of them throughout the day."

Usual winter sightings at Fairburn Ings include swans, ducks and geese on the main lake there, but with snow and ice on the ground the resident barn owls have had to spend more time than ever looking for food.

Difficult time

Michael Wilson said it was a difficult time for all the birds at the RSPB reserve, but to see a barn owl out in the daytime was very rare.

He said: "We have seen them a lot during the day over the past couple of weeks.

"Obviously owls come out more at night, but because there has been a lack of food they have been hunting in the morning as well."

Barn owls are distinctive and much-loved birds which are usually seen at dusk or during the night.

Mice, voles and shrews are their food of choice, but with the temperatures having plummeted over recent weeks Fairburn's barn owls have faced far from rich pickings.

However, that has proved a boon for staff and visitors to Fairburn Ings who have enjoyed sightings of the birds all over the reserve.

Michael Wilson said: "We have seen it in the fields by the visitor centre so we can just stand outside the door and watch it.

"It has just been floating along the fields trying to catch voles and mice and things like that."

Big freeze

With West Yorkshire's big freeze looking set to continue for some time to come, Michael Wilson said the daytime sightings of barn owls at Fairburn Ings should send a message to all bird-lovers.

He said: "It has been very difficult for a lot of birds especially the garden birds.

"It is very important to feed all the birds and everybody at home can do their bit.

"They can provide them with lots of different sorts of food, different seeds and things like peanuts and lots of fat - high energy food."

Disclaimer: This article has been reproduced from http://news.bbc.co.uk and placed here for comment. OwlPages.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any information in this article, and does not necessarily agree with the author's opinions.

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