New Builds for Barn Owls in Gloucestershire

Monday 10th October 2016

Barn Owl Box Building at GreystonesBarn Owl Box Building at Greystones

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust gets to work on creating much-needed nesting space for one of the county’s most beloved species after a successful Barn Owl Appeal.

The appeal was launched in May 2016, with the aim of supporting Gloucestershire’s barn owls, whose numbers have been low in recent years and fell dramatically in 2015 due to adverse weather. The Trust aimed to raise enough money to enable them to build and install 60 barn owl boxes in areas of good foraging habitat; train volunteers in barn owl monitoring and advise landowners on creating and retaining suitable grassland habitat.

Thanks to the support of members, trusts and donors, the campaign total now sits at over £25,000, allowing GWT and its volunteers to get to work on creating perfect homes for the birds of prey. Alongside the building of nest boxes, the money generated will mean the Trust can train twenty volunteers to install the boxes and monitor activity, in partnership with Mervyn Greening of the Gloucestershire Barn Owl Group, and other local experts.

Thanks to the support of members, trusts and donors, the campaign total now sits at over £25,000

Long-term supporters of GWT, Grundon Waste Management kick-started the campaign with a generous £5,000 contribution and will be taking part in box building sessions.

Andrew Short, Estates Director for Grundon Waste Management said: “Like so many others, this campaign was one we felt we had to be involved in. This enigmatic bird is iconic in the county and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has the knowledge and expertise to make a difference to its success. We had no hesitation in kick-starting the appeal and getting involved in such a worthwhile project.”

Boxes will be installed in areas based on their suitability to sustain a family of owls. Staff and volunteers will install boxes in barns where evidence of barn owl usage has been identified and surrounding landowners will be advised on how best to maintain rough grassland habitat: the perfect home for their prey.
The Barn Owl Appeal and wider Barn Owl Recovery Project were inspired by the success of the installation of ten barn owl boxes along the River Windrush, as part of the Cotswold Rivers Project.

Richard Spyvee, GWT Living Landscapes Manager and leader of the Barn Owl Recovery Project explains the importance of working with local landowners: “We’ve worked closely with farmers and landowners over the last six years to create good barn owl habitat. Consequently we’ve been able to install boxes in the Windrush area. We were delighted to see a good usage rate, with some birds moving in after just three days! This stands us in good stead to make a success of the new project and give the barn owl a promising future in Gloucestershire.”

GWT staff will manage the project by continuing to contact and work with landowners, as well as co-ordinating volunteers and students in monitoring and reporting activities. 

If you’d like to find out more or donate, visit our Barn Owl Appeal page.