Open Farm Sunday, managed by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), has been running annually since 2006, providing opportunity for farmers to share their fabulous work with all ages, by opening their farms to the general-public, and showcasing the many goods and services they provide.
The Owl Box Initiative project carries out a range of monitoring activities to understand more about local barn owl populations and their use of habitat.
Barn owls in Sparsholt near Winchester can look forward to snug new homes in which to raise their owlets, as a result of the efforts of a group of students and the GWCT.
The Owl Box Initiative focuses predominantly on the conservation of the barn owl (Tyto alba), and as an inspirational flagship species, aims to inspire people to engage in more wildlife-friendly farming. However, the UK supports five species of owl and last week, as I heard the distinctive ‘hooo, hu, huhuhuhooo’ of a male tawny owl (Stix aluco) on the site of the GWCT’s headquarters, I wanted to learn more.
This year we would like to focus on the tawny owl, a species whose population is thought to be in decline in the UK. Research is needed to better understand the drivers of this trend, but a lack of suitable roosting sites due to the loss of mature trees, and changes in woodland management could be contributing factors.
The barn owl’s (Tyto alba) core breeding season, specifically from egg laying to chick fledging, is usually between April and August. But this timescale can vary due to various factors, such as weather conditions, prey availability and the experience of adults in rearing young.
The Owl Box Initiative is delighted to be celebrating it’s one year anniversary and after a busy year for everyone involved, and particularly for the breeding barn owls across our study sites, we thought we would look back on an exciting year of conservation, monitoring and engagement.