Cheeky barn owl spotted retreating to rabbit hole to escape noisy brood

Sometimes we all need a bit of peace and quiet.

But gamekeepers in the Lammermuirs were astonished when this male barn owl was spotted retreating to a disused rabbit hole everyday for some downtime away from his chicks.

The owl is father to a brood of chicks nesting 200 yards down the valley in a shed.

But he has been caught on camera sneaking off down the rabbit hole for some peace at night to escape the youngsters making a racket.

Keepers said the cheeky owl always returns to help out with parenting duties later on.

It is the first time such behaviour has been recorded on camera in the region.

‘This daddy owl is clearly looking for a bit of downtime – we all know how tiring it can be with youngsters making a racket all night,’ said Mark Ewart, coordinator of the Southern Uplands Moorland Group.

‘He has chosen a quiet spot hidden away in an old rabbit burrow, but will return to help with parenting chores later on.

‘We have a good number of barn owls in the region and many of the gamekeepers have installed nesting boxes inside buildings.

‘There is abundant food in the area with plenty of ground cover plants to encourage species such as voles and mice.

‘The population varies depending on the availability of food each year but barn owls have been on a gradual upward trend over several years and it is wonderful to see them hunting in the area.’

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