Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Community Barn Owl Project Comes to Minehead

 4th Jul 2012

Barn owl by Steve DavisSomerset Wildlife Trust  aims to get a barn owl nest box in every parish

Residents in West Somerset are invited to find out more about Somerset Wildlife Trust’s ambitious aim to get a barn owl nest box in every parish of the county at a free public talk being held in Minehead on September 12.

The Trust’s Community Barn Owl Project aims to get a barn owl nest box in each of Somerset’s 335 parishes by 2014. The Trust is appealing for landowners in West Somerset who may be able to host a box and manage some of their land for conservation. 

Chris Sperring, MBE,  Conservation Officer for the Hawk and Owl Trust and Vice President of Somerset Wildlife Trust will talk about the natural history of barn owls, and how the Community Barn Owl Project aims to increase the number of breeding barn owls in Somerset.

Chris said: “We’ve been really delighted by the support local people have shown for this project to help ensure one of Somerset’s  most treasured species remains a part of the countryside. 

“As well as hosting nest boxes, we also need people in West Somerset to help us monitor the barn owl population by reporting their sightings online or by coming along to our West Somerset volunteer survey.”

Dwindling numbers

Once common sights, barn owl numbers declined by 70 per cent in just 50 years, due to loss of habitat. With up to 80 per cent of barn owls now nesting in man-made boxes, Somerset Wildlife Trust is teaming up with local communities to get a barn owl box in every parish. As well as tackling loss of traditional nesting sites, the project will create more of the rough grassland hunting habitat barn owls need. 

The three-year project, launched in April, is funded by Viridor Credits Environmental Company; a charity that distributes money from the Landfill Communities Fund, and is a collaboration with the Hawk and Owl Trust; a national charity dedicated to conserving wild birds of prey and owls and their habitats.

Booking info

The talk is at West Somerset Community College, 7 to 9pm and is free of charge. Booking essential on 01823 652400 or email enquiries@somersetwildlife.org.

For more information about the project go to www.somersetwildlife.org/barnowl.

Other events

Other upcoming events for the Somerset Community Barn Owl Project include:
1. Family Fancy Dress Halloween Owl Prowl - Wed, Oct 31, 4-6pm
Join Chris for a spooky halloween owl prowl on the Somerset Levels. Discover the different calls, how they hunt and how to identify different owl species. Come dressed in your scariest halloween costume. A great event for all the family. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve car park. The event is free but booking essential on 01823 652400 enquiries@somersetwildlife.org.


2. Owls on the Somerset Levels - Wed, Oct 31, 7-9pm (adults only)
Join Chris for a wander through the Trust’s Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve to discover all about the owls on the Somerset Levels. With barn owls and tawny owls in the area, we hope to see and hear a variety of species. This event is aimed at adults and is preceded by the family walk. Meet at Westhay Moor car park. The event is free but booking essential on 01823 651400 enquiries@somersetwildlife.org.
 

Barn owl picture by Steve Davis