Inspired by the BBC’s hugely successful tv programme, Springwatch, the cameras have been installed in three of the 40 nesting boxes in the 100 acre grounds of Middleton Hall.
Visitors and residents have been avidly following the progress of the wildlife on a 32inch television screen in the reception area where they can see a live feed of the birds. So far, a tawny owl has laid three eggs and residents have been gripped by the nightly calls to her mate as he goes hunting for mice to feed the prospective mother-of-three. The eggs are expected to hatch within the month.
Pat Webb, 68, Middleton Woods Resident said: “We come down at all times to see what’s happening. Everyone’s fascinated by it. I love owls and it’s something that you would never get the chance to see so close up normally.”
The Nestwatch scheme was the idea of David Richardson, Head of Operations, who arranged to have the cameras installed before the birds began using the boxes.
David, who was a volunteer with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), said: “A couple of the residents have been going down in their nightwear so they don’t miss anything as the action happens at night. They’re always letting me know the latest goings-on in the nest which is great. One of the reasons programmes like Springwatch are so popular is probably the insight into the secrets of nature people usually don’t get to see. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with wildlife, seeing what the birds’ habits are and how they live.”