DWT needs to raise £20k to ensure survival of barn owls
Wednesday 7th March 2018
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has launched an appeal to raise £20,000 to help manage the nature reserve at Lorton Meadows in Weymouth, which is home to a pair of barn owls who have been residing there since 2010. Last year the barn owls raised 5 owlets at Lorton Meadows, which was streamed live on the DWT webcam, to an audience across the world.
However, for them to continue to thrive and bring up their young in the future, they are dependent on the quality of their immediate habitat for shelter and food.
DWT has been managing the nature reserve at Lorton Meadows for 20 years this year, which has 75 hectares of flower-rich hay meadows, mature hedgerows and woodland – all holding the small mammals that barn owls hunt, such as voles, mice and shrews.
DWT’s Community Conservation Officer at Lorton Meadows, Sam Dallimore said, “We were very lucky to have 5 chicks hatch and fledge in 2017, which is amazing considering this is double the national average. However, barn owls are in decline nationally, which is in part caused by low food availability, due to loss of habitat. A barn owl’s range extends only about 1km from the nest site in the breeding season. Owlets have huge appetites and can eat their own weight of food in a single night. This is why we want to work even harder to ensure that these and other barn owls have the natural hunting habitat and feeding opportunities at Lorton Meadows. Barn owls will only breed where food is abundant.”
Work which will be funded at Lorton Meadows through this appeal includes: reducing areas of encroaching scrub to increase areas of grassland where barn owls feed; putting up 1900m of fencing to maintain the grassland by cattle grazing and managing 300m of hedgerows on the site. Over 300 conservation volunteers will take part in volunteering activities.
We urgently need to reach our fundraising targets to complete this work. Visit our appeal page to donate.
Notes to Editor
Lorton Meadows is 75 hectares in size, located in the North West of Weymouth. It is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and a protected conservation area including some of the county’s most spectacular and beautiful habitats. Dorset Wildlife Trust acquired the meadows in 1998 with support funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and, in 2003, set about creating a conservation centre in partnership with local residents, to preserve local wildlife. The barn owls residing at Lorton Meadows are living in a barn owl box which was installed into the conservation centre to help contribute to suitable places for barn owls to roost.
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
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 27,000 members and 44 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, The Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows nature reserve and the Kingcombe Centre, Brownsea Island Nature Reserve, The Fine Foundation Marine Centre 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. Dorset Wildlife Trust registered charity number:
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