BARN OWL Tyto alba
Uncommon resident breeder.
With 65 records, a third of which referred to breeding birds, it was by far the best-ever year for this evocative species. Reports of individual birds came mainly from areas where breeding was successful or attempted. We are clearly reaping the rewards of the conservation work that has been undertaken by the Group and many other dedicated volunteers. This obviously successful approach has been achieved through the erection of specially designed boxes, in carefully chosen locations, and in co-operation with skilled birders. Perhaps it is no surprise that farmers have approached the Group to erect boxes on their land. All the records came from Airedale and the north of the area and, for the first time, birds were attracted to Stockbridge and an area above the Worth Valley. Fifteen pairs were identified and 35 young birds were reared, most of them ringed. One pair, found in a box with 14 Goosander eggs, were non-breeders, whilst at another site there was apparently successful breeding but no further information was received.
LITTLE OWL Athene noctua
Common resident breeder.
This year the species was reported at 28 locations, mainly on the moorland fringes, where dry-stone walls provide cover and breeding opportunities. At most of these sites, pairs were seen and breeding was suspected, but only on Denton Moor, where four young were ringed, and in the Washburn Valley, was it confirmed. A juvenile bird was also seen at Low Snowden.