måndag 6 juli 2020

Record Great Grey Owl season!

The Great Grey Owl colonized this part of Sweden from the mid 1990´s and since the year 2000 we have had an active breeding site not far from Västerås. For long it´s been known as the southernmost regular breeding site in Sweden. This year (like last year) the breeding attempt failed and Great Grey Owls got difficult to see in the area. However during the summer rumours have spread about other breeding pairs and it proves that no less than 15 (!) new sites have been found in the north and west of the county - many of them found randomly and sometimes by forest workers who have been attacked by the Owl parents when they´ve come too close to chicks on the ground. Apparently there are enough voles to support them this year. Surprising since the east parts of Västmanland had very few breeding Ural owls this season for instance. Nonetheless, a pair of brothers have started a project with the ambition to ring as many as possible of the females and chicks, using a mist net to catch the adult bird. The first bird to be caught was already ringed…in Norway! Now being at least 5 years old. In total 23 chicks and 3 adults have been ringed, plus this norwegian bird "controlled" as we ringers say. These brothers - Mikael and Patrik Rhönnstad - also know to Birdsafarisweden-visitors for guiding in the area - have built and put up 38 platforms for Great Grey Owls to breed on. We now hope that this is just a building up year and next year will become even better. But nobody knows. What we have learned about Owls through the years here its how unpredictable they are. Anyway this year summarize as a remarkable record year for Great Grey Owl (and the ringing of them) in Västmanland. It´s probably a record for central Sweden in all.

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