Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Please help give barn owls
a new home in every Somerset parish

barn owl in box large appealIts beautiful heart-shaped face makes the barn owl one of the UK’s most recognisable and popular birds, but over the last 80 years the UK’s barn owl population has dropped by a staggering 70%.

More intensive farming has led to a reduction in habitat and traditional nesting sites, such as hollow trees and derelict farm buildings. It may come as a surprise that 80% of the UK’s barn owls now live in man-made boxes.

Sightings in Somerset are an all-too-rare privilege these days, but we’re trying to put that right by putting up a barn owl box in each of the county’s 335 parishes by 2014. We’re also talking to hundreds of farmers and landowners to increase the amount of habitat available for field voles - the barn owl’s preferred prey.

Please donate to the Somerset Community Barn Owl project

NigelKendallThere are thought to be just 200 breeding pairs left in Somerset today - that’s a fraction of what there used to be as recently as the 1930s. With the help of our supporters and volunteers we’re hoping to increase the number of barn owls in the county by 25% over the next few years.

We started the Somerset Community Barn Owl project last winter and half of the boxes are already built and in place. We have also advised over a hundred farmers and landowners on how to manage their land sympathetically.

By the time it finishes in 2014, the total cost of the project will be over £140,000. We have already raised £110,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund, individual donations and by volunteers giving their time for free - but we urgently need to raise another £30,000 to be able to complete the project.

Your support is needed most at this critical time of year

Winter can be a tough time for a lot of wildlife, not least the barn owl whose numbers plummet more during harsh weather than at any other time­ - as food and nesting sites are even more scarce than usual. The Somerset Community Barn Owl Project aims to bring this enigmatic bird back to every corner of the county, by providing new homes and habitat to help it survive, whatever the season.

We urgently need your support to complete the project over the next two years, and are grateful for whatever you are able to give

Photo: School visit with Beau © Nigel Kendall

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