Would you like to help, but don't know where to begin?
This is your starter to other useful fact-files here on www.bocn.org.
We have a short-and simple guide about what you can do to help wild Barn Owls. Please view our interactive conservation page and our other factfiles on this web site.
Even if you live in an area where Barn Owls are very unlikely to live, you can still help, by adopting a box.
You choose the region where you would most like to adopt – and you can do it as a family group, school group or business. This is a great gift too!
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
for a free leaflet or more information.
Barn Owls need good habitat.
Our interactive Conservation page on this website points out different ways that you can help Barn Owls.
People often put up boxes, but Barn Owls need prey-rich grassland first, otherwise they cannot survive, and will not be able to raise a family. Areas of rough, long grass are where owls will find their favourite food – the Short-tailed Vole. Other prey lives in the grass too, like mice, Bank Voles and shrews, and these areas support a whole range of biodiversity.
Habitat suitable for hunting is crucial for young owls, as they disperse from their parents' territory. Joined-up areas of grass habitat are more valuable than isolated patches, even if they are just rough edges to a lane, or long grass along a hedge – it adds up to more when it’s well connected!
If you are a landowner, or farmer, you can do a lot to create and conserve the habitat that Barn Owls need. Uncut grass verges, large field margins, land in "set-aside", beetle banks in crops... these all go towards Barn Owl survival, and you help so many other species too.
Your county council may be responsible for mowing road verges, and local authorities are often important landowners. Have they thought about how they could help Barn Owls on their land? Remind them that they may be able to make a big difference.
Where your local countryside has areas of rough grassland, ask your local farmers and landowners to keep it!
Where there is not much long grass, perhaps you, or local landowners can create some. This sounds expensive and difficult, but there are grants offered to farmers to create and keep this sort of land, alongside normal farming activity. Sometimes all people need to do is mow or graze the grass differently!
Barn Owls need up to 120 acres (50 hectares) to find enough food to raise a family. Remember that everything helps, and so habitat links are vital to join up strips of prey habitat.
Imagine every farm, river valley and marsh in the British Isles joined by a green corridor of rough grassy hunting habitat - it would be Barn Owl paradise!
Barn Owls need nest sites.
This does not always mean that they need new nest boxes! Actually, many good nest sites may be around already in some areas, and the missing factor may be food habitats!
However, when you look after your local nest sites, this really helps. One of the biggest threats to traditional nest sites (successive generations of Barn Owls sometimes use the same sites for many years) is development of old farm buildings and barns. In the past, many spots were available on farms for nesting, but if barns are converted to residences, Barn Owls can be made homeless.
If you are thinking about converting a farm building, consider how you could fit Barn Owls into your plans. *Free leaflets are available, and you can print fact-files off this website!
Watch out for buildings being converted – tell the owners that they could keep a space for owls in the roof! (This is actually quite simple, and thinking about wildlife in old buildings is also important for other protected animals like bats.)
Nest boxes are easily bought or made. Putting them in the right location is what's important!
* Fact-files on this website give more details on this. If you think there are Barn Owls in you area, (*check up using our website’s UK map) and you are next to good hunting habitat, then extra nest boxes can be a lifesaver! Where boxes are placed is crucial. Call BOCN, or read up on the website fact-files, to make sure that your boxes have the best chance of success.
Different types of nest box are suited to indoor or outdoor situations. Where there are not many trees available for the outdoor boxes, pole boxes have been used with great success.
BOCN Advisors are usually volunteers, and play a vital role because they are licensed to visit Barn Owl sites, and so they can monitor and record Barn Owl populations, as well as advise on projects.
If you are already involved in a barn owl conservation project and you would like to offer help to the BOCN as an advisor to help us deal with barn owl enquiries from your area we would be pleased to hear from you. DO NOT GIVE AWAY YOUR DETAILS ON THE "FORUM" CHAT-PAGE, BUT INSTEAD CONTACT US DIRECT at email@example.com
Local wildlife groups, Wildlife Trusts and Countryside Projects may also have opportunities for you to assist in conservation work. Local birding groups may be involved actively with helping nest box monitoring or habitat work.
By managing countryside to improve and link habitat and nest sites across the UK, we can ensure this fascinating bird's survival.