After such a successful 2012 for barn owls in Staffordshire, 2013 is looking like one of the worst years BOAG has encountered. The cold temperatures and continual snow cover in February and March, with a delayed spring have dealt a harsh blow to the barn owl population in our area. During the last few months over 20 dead barn owls have been reported to BOAG as they have struggled to survive and see it through the winter. Barn owls have been found dead and underweight in barns by farmers in Staffordshire. Many have also been reported dead on the side of busy roads as they have struggled to find enough prey and have resorted to hunting along road verges in their search for small mammals.
As a result of the delayed spring and a late breeding season BOAG has only recently started to monitor nest boxes and early signs are not looking good. Many of the regular breeding nest sites have no barn owls present and where the occasional pair have been found the female is still brooding eggs. It is certainly a late start for the Staffordshire barn owls and BOAG is concerned as to how the breeding year will unfold.