Pictures: Farmer makes rare discovery in his hay shed
Three young owls were uncovered by a farmer recently when he went to move bales in a shed.
The farmer, just outside Fermoy, Cork, was moving bales from last year to make room for more, when he found the young owls in situ with some rodent snacks!
He rang Birdwatch Ireland and local farmer and Birdwatch Ireland member Donal Sheehan visited the farm and advised the farmer to put back the bales and allow the young birds finish growing.
"He thought it was plastic bags between the bales but when he moved them he found it was young owls and some dead rodents the parent owls had brought them to eat.
"The bales were stacked four high and the chicks were right down the bottom. It's unusual to find owls nesting in among bales, they tend to choose disused chimneys or hollow trees."
The chicks, he said, are about three to four weeks old after being incubated for a few weeks by the mother owl, and will be able to leave the nest themselves in another few weeks.
"The mother would have been roosting in a nearby tree during the day time and they feed around 11pm. You hear the chicks with their hissing snore and it means they are hungry and it encourages the parents to go hunting."
As for the rodents, Donal said that Birdwatch Ireland would encourage farmers not to use rodenticides as they are then ingested by birds such as owls.