Help us support barn owl recovery in Gloucestershire by helping us to raise £20,600

Last year was bleak for Gloucestershire's barn owl population. By supporting our vital appeal today, you could help make next year a better one for this iconic bird.

 

 

I'm sure you know and love the barn owl. That heart-shaped face, buff feathers and white underside have inspired everyone from naturalists to poets for centuries. It regularly comes in the top ten of people's most popular wild animal, and in fact it's even in our logo.

 

The numbers of barn owls breeding in our county fell dramatically last year. A lack of nest sites and good feeding habitat have led to a long-term decline in numbers. Join our appeal and make a gift of £35 to help create new nesting places for these iconic birds. 

We need your support to help the barn owl to establish a viable and sustainable population in our county. 
 "If we put up the nest boxes by September this year, we should see more and more pairs nesting in the next breeding season." 

 

Gloucestershire has traditionally seen large numbers of barn owls, but many barn owl pairs chose not to use nest sites last year. Females can only lay eggs when they reach a weight of 350g or so, but a lack of voles, their main food supply, meant many failed to reach their optimum weight. 

Barn owls face a number of challenges.

  • Declining habitat means it can become difficult for them to find food.
  • Barns falling into disrepair or being converted means the owls are losing their traditional nesting sites. The ones that are left are often isolated, separated by busy roads which an make hunting treacherous. In fact, one of the most common killers of the barn owl is actually the car. 

Working alongside the Barn Owl Monitoring Programme, last year we put up ten nest boxes at sites that were ideal for barn owls and nesting pairs took to them, and in fact some were moving into the boxes within just three days!

We want to build on this success and install 60 boxes in habitats that we know are good for barn owls. If we can raise £20,600, we can install the boxes and create a positive impact on the barn owl population. We will also advise landowners on how best to manage their land to improve it for barn owls. With your help today, we could make sure that Gloucestershire remains a haven for these beautiful birds. 

As Mervyn Greening from the Barn Owl Monitoring Programme explains: "If we put up the nest boxes by September this year, we should see more and more pairs nesting in the next breeding season." But September will soon be upon us so we have to act fast. Whatever you can spare, £35, £50, £100, we really do need your help now.

You won't just be making a difference to the breeding season next year, your generosity will help in years to come too. Over the years we aim to monitor the boxes to learn as much as we can about barn owls habits.  

Monitoring nests and ringing young chicks is an extremely specialised activity. A gift of £35 from you today could help us train people to be able to monitor the birds and help us understand more about these fascinating creatures. 

But we have to act right now to meet our target of getting the next boxes in place by September. They will then be in place for birds searching for places to nest and breed next year. 

We cannot miss this opportunity to act. Archaeological records show that barn owls and man have lived alongside each other since the Iron Age. Yet the loss of natural grasslands and nesting sites has caused barn owls to decline by three-quarters in the UK. 

We have shown that putting up nest boxes can encourage these noble creatures to return to our county's barns once again. So please, give what you can to protect Gloucestershire's barn owls. 

Barn owl (c) Richard Bowler

Thank you to Grundon Waste Management for their generous support to kick-start our appeal to make Gloucestershire a safe haven for barn owls