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.
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.