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Barn Owl Boxes

Project BOB came into being two years ago when terrible weather and a lack of prey caused many adult barn owls to perish and few pairs being able to breed.

Volunteer putting up barn owl boxBOB stands for barn owl box and since the project started rangers, ecologist and farmers have been pulling together information on existing barn owl boxes across the South Downs National Park and finding suitable sites to install more. Around 180 new boxes have been put up in the last two years and the project is now monitoring 244 nest boxes across 103 farms.

During 2015 we recorded 28 breeding pairs of Barn Owl, producing over 48 chicks; an additional 5 pairs nested but did not breed. In certain areas we have also installed tawny owl and kestrel boxes recording 4 breeding pairs of each totalling 25 chicks. In total 17 per cent of boxes have been used for nesting and over 50 per cent for roosting.

Barn owl chicks being tagged with Easebourne Primary School (the chicks are 6 weeks old).

Working to monitor these incredible species, and seeing how happy people are to hear they are doing well on their farms has been a very rewarding experience. If you have a farm within the South Downs National Park you may be eligible for a free barn owl box. Find out by contacting BarnOwl@southdowns.gov.uk

We would like to thank Matt Stevens of the Hawk Conservancy Trust and Graham Roberts of West Sussex County Council for all of their hard work and support with this project. Also thanks to Phil lavenders of www.owlandkestrel.co.uk for providing homes for kestrel and tawny owls.

Project BOB case study October 2015

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