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The Barn Owl Trust

Conserving the Barn Owl and its Environment

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How to encourage other owl species

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Tawny Owls

With 20-25,000 pairs in the UK, Tawny Owls are the most common of the British owl species. Unlike Barn Owls and Little Owls, Tawny Owls are woodland birds. They are present virtually everywhere there are trees - even in city parks and well-wooded gardens. They are known to nest in a wide variety of places including tree hollows, tree-trunk forks, old crows nests, squirrel dreys, and even rabbit holes. They nest early in the year usually laying in March, with the young hatching in April and leaving the nest in May.


Nestboxes can be provided for Tawny Owls and these are particularly helpful in areas where there is a shortage of very old big trees. Habitat creation for woodland species like Tawny Owls involves the planting of new woodlands, encouraging tree-age and species diversity within woodland, and allowing additional trees to grow up along flailed hedges.


Little Owls

Little Owls are the smallest British owl species and although they can be found in a range of habitats they usually do best in areas of mixed farmland. We have around 6,000 pairs in Britain and they are most active at dusk and dawn but are also very active by day and can be heard at night too!


The Little Owl is a hole nesting species and nests have been recorded in rock crags, rabbit holes and haystacks as well as in buildings and tree holes. Little Owls are faithful to their nest sites and will return year after year provided both of the pair survive.


Little Owl eggs are normally laid during April and the young fledge in June or July. In areas where there are few suitable natural sites, nestboxes can be important but even where there are natural alternatives the birds may take readily to using a well-placed nestbox. Habitat creation takes the form of encouraging land-use diversity - some rough grassland, some shorter grass, areas of bare ground as well as crops. Old orchards are also a favoured habitat. The more mixed the better!

The Barn Owl Trust is dedicated to conservation & education and does not operate a visitor centre.
Barn Owl Trust staff and volunteers
Waterleat, Ashburton, Devon TQ13 7HU
+44 (0) 1364 653026