Rare daytime sightings of barn owls at Fairburn Ings
Article Date: 2010-12-21 Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk
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.
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
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."
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
"It is very important to feed all the birds and everybody at home can do their
"They can provide them with lots of different sorts of food, different seeds and
things like peanuts and lots of fat - high energy food."
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