(Above) Barn Owl by Steve Davis (below) Barn Owl box by Joy Wallis
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is asking for help to build boxes for vulnerable barn owls in Dorset, as part of the barn owl appeal which has so far raised nearly £29,000 since June 2014.
DWT now needs more boxes to provide shelter and safety to threatened barn owls, and is counting on the overwhelming public support already shown, to help continue barn owl conservation work in Dorset.
DWT Conservation Officer, Emily Newton, said, “We have been overwhelmed with support for the barn owls in Dorset, and have already held one really successful box building day in November last year. But we now need more help, and we can’t do it without the public’s support. We are confident that with a few good breeding seasons, barn owl numbers should rise again. There are some things we can do to give barn owls a helping hand, such as making boxes to give them safe nest sites. Anyone can be part of the team of volunteers helping to build these boxes, you just need enthusiasm! We will supply the materials and be on hand to help.”
Population of barn owls fell by 70% between the 1930s and 1980s
The UK population of barn owls fell by 70% between the 1930s and the 1980s, with just 4,000 breeding pairs surviving by 2000. In 2013, barn owl numbers plummeted in the UK due to the worst breeding season for 30 years. Unusual weather such as long winters, cold summers and wet springs have made it harder to hunt, and changes in farming practices have meant loss of nesting sites.
Barn Owl boxes will be distributed to farms with suitable habitat in Dorset. Other work taking place will include visiting landowners to offer advice and how to manage land to benefit the barn owl, and delivering educational talks and guided walks for schools and communities to encourage recordings of barn owl sightings.
Help to build a Barn Owl nest box
The box building day will be held on Saturday 28th March at Brooklands Farm, Forston, Dorchester, DT2 7AA from 2pm to 4pm booking is essential on 01300 321329.
Come and meet Beau the Barn Owl
If you are interested in finding out more information about barn owls, and to meet Beau the barn owl, DWT is holding an Owl Day on 26th May from 2pm- 4pm at the DWT reserve, Lorton Meadows, just outside Weymouth. Families are welcome, with activities for children and information about how to Make Wildlife Welcome into your area. For more information or to book your place, phone 01300 321329.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.