Saturday, 7 April 2012

Barn Owl Trust

I went to a fascinating talk by Chris Sperring who gave a talk on the work of the Hawk and Owl Trust.

There are many factors leading to the diminishing numbers of barn owls in the UK, including loss of habitat, especially the hedgerow borders. Over the past 50-60 years hedgerows have been disappearing to give way for bigger fields for maximum crop yield. The main prey of the barn owl is the field vole, which lives in the long grasses of meadows and field edges. Research has shown that just by increasing field margins and allowing rough borders to grow and be managed, the field vole population increases, and following does the barn owl population. Many farmers have taken these conservation measures and seen the results for themselves.

Barn owl nesting boxes have also been a huge success. Modern barns and buildings do not provide the traditional nest sites barn owls once enjoyed, and our managed woodlands have less rotten trees for nesting. The majority of barn owls in the UK nest in made-made nest boxes situated in habitats suitable for barn owls.

It just shows what differences can be made if conservation is given a chance. But more still needs to done to protect these birds.

For more information have a look at the Hawk and Owl Trust website...


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