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Can you help? Barn Owl project launched

Can you help? Barn Owl project launched

Sunday 08 December 2019

Can you help? Barn Owl project launched

Sunday 08 December 2019


A project looking to work out just how healthy the island's population of Barn Owls is has been launched with a survey.

The Guernsey Barn Owl Survey 2020 is looking to provide robust information on the number of the owls the island has.

It has all been initiated by Chris Mourant, secretary of the Bird Section of La Société, and was inspired by a statement Deputy Barry Brehaut, the President of Environment & Infrastructure, made where he said: "A great deal more work is required to protect and enhance the island’s biodiversity. There are several key areas that need further investigation, data analysis, and development, including bird populations.”

The project will inform this key area as outlined by Environment’s statement.

"Barn Owls are an important indicator species," a spokesperson for the project said, "a decrease in their numbers is an early warning sign that there are problems in the wider environment. They have special protected status in the rest of Great Britain. This survey will help us to understand what is happening to our Barn Owl population and what conservation and mitigation measures are required to help them."

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Pictured: The Bird Section warned people against climbing up to the boxes placed in high trees, as they may hurt themselves or disturb any birds. (Image by Dave Carre)

"We want to hear from anyone who has an Owl Box. Most Barn Owl boxes around the island were put up several years ago. People may have a box either because they put it up or they moved to a property which already had one in place. Maybe a box has been lost because it has been removed or damaged in a storm."

The project is looking for information on the following four points regarding people's Owl Boxes: 

  1. Location of the box
  2. State of the box, even if it has been lost
  3. Occupation over the past 2-3 years - barn owl, kestrel, dove etc.
  4. If it has been empty

Julie Davis, Barn Owl Project Coordinator, added: “Vic Froome has done a huge amount of work, making and putting up boxes across the island. His original network had more than 400 boxes. He also produced regular newsletters with his wife, Jill. He has been less active in recent years and with the establishment of the Biodiversity Strategy we are now in a position to build on his impressive work.”

Elizabeth Sweet, Manager of the Guernsey Biological Records Centre, added: "You can’t manage what you don’t measure. At present the few records we have on Barn Owls come mainly from casual observations. This project marks the start of an organised approach to monitor Guernsey’s Barn Owl population.

"We have some dedicated box owners who have reported back for over ten years, which is amazing as they have had thirty-three fledglings.”

The project will update information it has over the winter and wants to hear from anyone who has a box, or had one in the past. To get in touch with the team, email barnowlsurvey2020@gmail.com.

Pictured top: The project is looking into the island's barn owl population. (image by Dave Carre) 

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