It might come as no suprise to you that the harsh winter we have had has taken its toll on a variety of wildlife but the Barn Owl in the UK has really struggled. Barn Owls being warm blooded animals continually have to feed in order to stay alive just like our garden birds, now Barn Owls only weigh between 10-16oz so thats a lot of prey needed and not a lot of fat to keep you going through the cold winter months. This is added to because the primary prey of mice and field vole populations drop during winter and when it snows Barn Owls struggle to find there prey.
This lack of food has a knock on effect for the breeding season, as the male Owl has to work hard to feed the female and bring her into breeding condition. If she doesn't reach an optimum weight in order to breed they won't breed that year, and its perfectly sensible really, if the male can't provide for the female then how will he manage to feed upto 5 greedy chicks.
Read the article below just published on Wildlife Extra showing how the last winter has effected some Barn Owl populations.