The Essex Barn Owl Conservation Project celebrates 5 years

Thursday 7th December 2017

6 week old chicks ringed as part of the Essex Barn Owl Conservation Project

Essex Wildlife Trust launched The Essex Barn Owl Conservation Project with the aim of reversing the dramatic declines of Barn Owls. Five years on, over 260 nest boxes have been installed and more than 160 chicks have been ringed.

Barn Owls have suffered severe population declines over the past few decades, due to changes in land management reducing nesting and hunting habitats, road mortality and increased frequency of extreme weather.

The Essex Barn Owl Conservation Project was launched to help reverse these declines and protect Barn Owls within the county. The project works with landowners and land managers across Essex to restore, reconnect and recreate suitable hunting and breeding sites for Barn Owls.

261 nest boxes have been installed since 2013, which will not only provide ideal nesting sites for Barn Owls but also a home to shelter in through the harsh winter months. Nature rarely stops to read the label though and the nest boxes have also provided homes to Tawny Owls, Kestrels, Little Owls and even Mallards.

The nest boxes and Barn Owl populations are monitored annually and in just three seasons, more than 250 Barn Owls including adults and chicks have been ringed by British Trust for Ornithology after being discovered in the project's nest boxes. We are now starting to observe trends from the results and these results are fed into national reports and datasets, contributing vital information to the state of Barn Owls in the UK.

This thriving partnership project would not be possible without the 164 landowners and land managers who have offered to help Barn Owls on their land; the businesses and corporate sponsors who have generously donated materials and support and the 52 volunteers who help advise landowners, build nest boxes, monitor these boxes throughout the survey season and help the project grow from strength to strength.

Would you like to support the project? You may wish to host or sponsor a nest box or, if you live in north-west Essex, join as a volunteer advisor or monitor. For further information on any aspect of our project, please contact Emma Ormond, via emmao@essexwt.org.uk