As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Short-eared Owls found shot in Co Durham

Posted on: 31 Oct 2015

Durham Police and the RSPB are appealing for information following the shooting of two Short-eared Owls in March this year.

Found by a member of the public, the dead 
owls were pushed into a pothole near Selset Reservoir in Co Durham. They were recovered on 2 March 2015 and sent for a post mortem examination, where it was confirmed that both birds had been shot.

Short-eared Owls are fully protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The maximum sentence for the illegal killing of a wild bird is six months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. The species can frequently be seen hunting in broad daylight as well as in the early evening. They live mainly on a diet of small mammals such as voles, and the main wintering numbers are just beginning to arrive in Britain from Scandinavia.

To attract a mate, the males perform dramatic sky-dancing displays over open moorland, accompanied by wing clapping to alert females of their presence. The breeding range of Britain's Short-eared Owl population has shrunk in recent years, though the reasons for this are not fully understood.

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