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28th Jun, 2022

Declining barn owl population sparks concern

Worcester Editorial 14th Jan, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

PEOPLE are being urged to keep a watchful eye out for barn owls after it was revealed numbers are in startling decline.

Roy Fowler, of Worcester Barn Owl Conservation Group, has called on the city’s residents to help with his efforts to save the bird of prey from extinction.

The appeal comes after 2013 was described as “the worst barn owl breeding season for 30 years” by experts which has sparked fresh fears over the species’ future.

The city’s branch of the Barn Owl Trust reported only four nests were found this year, which is nine less than are usually spotted and the figure is much worse in other areas of the country.

Mr Fowler said he was concerned by the drop in numbers and he believed it was due to a run of extreme weather over recent years which has made life difficult for barn owls to breed.

“It has been one of the worst years in my view for producing young,” he said.

“The nest boxes were used but the eggs failed to come to nothing and the ones which had young only had two or three when they must have three to four to sustain the species.

“A barn owl can find food under two inches of snow, but if the snow stays for any length of time then the rodent will hibernate which means the bird will starve.”

However, Mr Fowler, who is also a network adviser for The Hawk and Owl Trust, said the people of Worcester can help to keep barn owls’ alive.

“It is vitally important that the public alert us to any barn owl activity in their area as we can then monitor them,” he added.

“It is important for everyone to be vigilant and to keep an eye out for them and keep a record of when they see them.

“We also encourage people to make barn owl nest boxes as we can come out to their homes and put them up for them.”

Anyone who has seen any barn owl activity in their area are urged to contact Mr Fowler on 01905 22968.

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