It’s owl right now: Hornsea 3 onshore construction site welcomes surprise visitors

Staff at one of Ørsted’s Norfolk onshore construction sites for the Hornsea 3 Wind Farm have welcomed the arrival of barn owls. The parents have successfully nested and reared four young birds. 
Photo credit:  Manuel Martinez Soler
Photo credit: Manuel Martinez Soler

One of the project’s ecologists spotted the babies – known as owlets – in a tree at one of the onshore cable corridor construction sites for the Hornsea 3 Offshore Wind Farm.

Staff have named the parents Mandi and Brian, and the owlets Kevin, Hussein, Alistair and James (after workers at the site). 

The Project’s Lead ecologist James Simpson, explained: “It is not common to see owlets like this unless you know where a nest is which is often. associated with a barn owl box.  So seeing the owlets in a tree like this I would say is certainly a rare occurrence.”  

Barn owls themselves can be seen across the UK and they are the most widely distributed species of owl in the world. 

These owls are believed to have chosen the tree for their breeding site as it has a sheltered hollow for them to nest.

James continued: “The nest site chosen by the barn owl has a large hollow in the central trunk, which can be accessed from the top.  The tree itself is in the middle of an arable field and would provide the barn owls with views of the surrounding landscape, which might provide some security from predators. But its more the feature in the tree that is the main reason for the nest in this location.”

Everyone on site is mindful not to disturb the owlets so they can mature in peace before flying the nest. Owlets begin making their first short flights at 8 weeks old. By 10 weeks they’re much better fliers and finally look like their parents. At 13 weeks, these owls know instinctively to leave their home and find their own place.

Members of the public who come across any nesting owls are advised not to disturb them but if they are aware of a nest, they could enjoy viewing it from a distance with a pair of binoculars. 

For more information contact

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Brown
External Communications Lead, Hornsea 3 Offshore Wind Farm
+44 (0)7443 154180