The Little Owl at Merrybower
Since living here, we have heard a singular Little Owl, and regularly saw it flitting between the Old Oak, the Old Pear, and the numerous smaller trees in the paddock at the back. Around 2011 we heard a hissing noise emanating from the Old Oak, and think (we need this confirming) that it may have been a baby Little Owl. Having said that, we do also get Barn and Tawny Owls, so it may have been one of these, but the Little Owl is the most regularly seen in the Old Oak. For the last four years we have heard at least two Little Owls, talking to each other from between the trees, and we suspect this may be a pair. Over the last five years our acre patch has developed, we have seen an increase in voles who live in the new hedgerow, nibbling at orchard tree bases, helping themselves to vegetables from the allotment and making nests in the hay quarter. No doubt the Little Owl has faired well with them, along with the expected increase in insect life that comes with a no-chemical set up we employ around the various plants and trees we grow.
The Little Owl in the UK
The Little Owl was introduced to the UK in the 19th century as a natural predator to Bullfinches. Surveys suggesting the population has fallen by 24% between 1995 and 2008. They feed on small mammals and birds, beetles and worms, and we currently have around 5,700 breeding pairs in the UK.
If you have seen a Little Owl, please do register it at this website: http://www.littleowlproject.uk/