10 ways to encourage wild Barn Owls
- Manage land for Barn Owls.
- Provide a roosting and nesting place.
- Avoid using Rat Poison (rodenticides).
- Offer extra food in bad weather.
- Buy from wildlife-friendly farmers.
- Help your local Barn Owl Group.
- Start your own Barn Owl Project.
- Object to damaging rural developments.
- Help minimise climate change.
- Support the Barn Owl Trust.
- The best foraging habitat is rough grassland with a high population of Field Voles – Barn Owls’ main prey.
- If you manage land in the countryside, the best way to encourage Barn Owls is to increase their food supply by creating strips or patches of rough tussocky grassland at least 4 metres wide, with a litter layer of dead grass, at least 7 cm deep. About Barn Owl habitat.
- Barn Owls in Britain hunt over open fields – mainly low-land farmland – they are not woodland or urban birds. Find out if your area is suitable.
There’s comprehensive information about habitat creation in the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook. Chris Packham (BBC) says “if ever there was a book to save a species, this is it”.
- Nestboxes: well-designed and well-positioned Barn Owl nestboxes are perfect places for them to hide, roost and nest.
- In a building, on a tree, or on a pole? Find out where’s the best place to put up a nest box.
- Build a Barn Owl box yourself with free plans and instructions.
- Buy a Barn Owl nestbox direct from the Barn Owl Trust.
- A lot of nestbox designs are far from ideal. If you are thinking of getting a box from another supplier please check it against our Nestbox Design Criteria.
- For barn conversions, new build etc. go to How to build-in a permanent space for Barn Owls.
- Build a Wildlife Tower to accommodate Barn Owls, other birds, and a variety of bats and other wildlife.
There’s more information about nestboxes and built-in nesting spaces in the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook. Ian Carter (Natural England) says “this volume is the definitive guide”.
- According to the latest figure available, 95% of wild Barn Owls contain rat poison. Some die as a direct result, while low-level contamination may affect hunting and breeding success.
- How to control rats as safely as possible.
- Support our Rodenticide Campaign to reduce the widespread contamination of wildlife by highly toxic anti-coagulants.
If your local Barn Owl roosts in a building or box, you may be able to offer a temporary extra food supply during periods of severe weather. Find out more about feeding wild Barn Owls.
- Foods produced by intensive farming methods are generally bad for wildlife.
- Choose products from organic farms and/or from local growers that encourage wildlife.
- Look for these symbols Conservation Grade, Fair to Nature, Nature-friendly Farming, Farming for Wildlife, Soil Association, Organic.
Most counties have an independent voluntary Barn Owl Group or an individual actively involved in Barn Owl conservation. Some of these seek public support and welcome new helpers. Find out who is active in your area by going to the Barn Owl Directory.
The Barn Owl Trust was founded on the work of one couple who, in 1984, started visiting farms in their area to see if they had resident Barn Owls. They erected nestboxes, and talked to farmers about habitat creation and safer rodent control. You could do the same! Before you begin it’s a good idea to check the Barn Owl Directory to find out if anyone is already doing similar work in your area.
Everything you need to know about Barn Owls in order to run your project is in the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook. Mike Toms (BTO) says “this book is upbeat and practical…accessible to readers from a wealth of backgrounds”.
- Barn Owl nests and roost sites are often unnecessarily destroyed because of poor planning.
- Careful development with provision for Barn Owls can help protect and secure the long-term future of a nest site. How to find out if all the right things are being done.
- Detailed guidance for architects, planners and developers is available in the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook and Barn Owls and Rural Planning Applications – a guide 2015.
- Barn Owls die or fail to nest during prolonged cold weather and produce fewer young in wet summers.
- If frequent extreme weather events like these continue, Barn Owl numbers will fall.
- Ways to minimise our ‘carbon footprint’.
- The Barn Owl Trust is a very small charity working hard to Conserve the Barn Owl and its Environment.
- We receive no government funding and do not have a wealthy patron or benefactor – in order to continue our work, we are reliant on your generous support.
- Please Become a Friend of the Barn Owl Trust, Adopt a Barn Owl, or Leave a Legacy to help ‘the bringer of dreams’. Thank you.