Conservation scheme sees highest number of barn owls chicks recorded

This summer saw a record year for the boxes, with nine new chicks recorded at four farms - the highest yet
This summer saw a record year for the boxes, with nine new chicks recorded at four of the farms - the highest yet Credit: Dorset Council

A conservation scheme in Dorset has seen the highest number of barn owls chicks recorded.

Dorset Council introduced barn owl boxes at farms in 2018 to boost biodiversity and tackle a 'significant decline' in numbers.

20 boxes have been installed across a cluster of council-owned farms in north Dorset, which are checked every year by an army of volunteers.

This summer, a total of nine new chicks were recorded at four of these farms – the highest number recorded yet.

All volunteers involved in the monitoring of the boxes have been trained on how to check and handle the owls with minimum disturbance. Credit: Dorset Council

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “I am thrilled to hear the efforts of our Natural Environment Team and tenant farmers have had such a positive impact on the number of barn owls in our county.

“As a council, we are committed to tackling the ecological emergency and are working hard to conserve our wildlife-rich county and enhance it wherever we can.”

The installation of barn owl boxes is part of efforts by the council to enhance the ecological value of its farms.

The plans also involve increasing hedgerows, creating wildlife corridors and extending wildlife foraging habitats.

Any owl found has been recorded and a specially designed ring has been put on its leg. 

All information gathered is then sent directly to the BTO, helping us understand more about the owls, including their survival and the condition of the birds.