Protected Barn Owls nest at Coldstream

barnowlLEXINGTON, KY (June 4, 2010) — UK's Coldstream Research Campus has new, though temporary, tenants. Protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a pair of nesting barn owls is raising four barn owl chicks in a nest at the top of the Lexhold building off Aristides Boulevard.


The owls were first discovered by a construction worker who was completing the building's "eyebrow," an architectural feature that runs across the top of the building. Wanting to be good environmental stewards, Bill Bishop, who is overseeing the completion of the building, and construction manager Bill Borregard contacted the state fish and wildlife experts to identify the birds.


The preservation of barn owls is a major concern in much of the U.S. including Kentucky. The birds traditionally nest in hollowed out tree cavities. As these become increasingly scarce, however, the owls have moved to barns and other structures adjoining vast pastoral spaces.


According to Kate Heyden, an avian biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, there are currently only 10 known nests in Kentucky. Construction on the Lexhold building will be delayed until the end of June when it is expected that all of the barn owl chicks will leave the nest. An agreement has also been made to install an owl box on top of the eyebrow as barn owls often return to the same spot to nest again.