The Trust's work - care and rehabilitation
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Rehabilitation of Barn Owls at Waterleat was being carried out long before the Trust became a registered charity in 1988. It started as a passion of the Trust's founders, which grew and eventually formed the Barn Owl Trust as we know it today.
Over the years the Trust has gained a wealth of knowledge regarding the rehabilitation and release of Barn Owls and this has helped us successfully develop and implement sound methods. Innovations have included the invention of an aviary on wheels! 1997 was the official "launch" of the top-opening mobile release aviary, a pioneering release aid that had been used over forty times by 2006.
Since then, they have been so well used that three new mobile aviaries were built in 2009.
This combines the advantages of releasing birds from a top-opening aviary with the benefits of releasing them very close to where they were found. Over the years, every bird released by the Barn Owl Trust has been ringed with a British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ring. This means we can compare the survival of released birds with the survival of wild birds generally.
In 2000 the Trust's good practice methods in rehabilitation and release were recognised by the British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (BWRC), who asked the Trust to give a presentation on the practicality of various wildlife-release methods (using Barn Owls as an example) at their annual symposium at London Zoo. This unique presentation is still in use and regularly requested by animal care and veterinary course organisers.
Hazards to Barn Owls
Barn Owls are highly susceptible to modern-day living - major roads, overhead wires, and intensive farming methods are just three of the many things that produce owl casualties and cases of starvation. These factors, coupled with young falling from the nest and prolonged periods of bad weather all contribute to declining numbers of Barn Owls and the need for on-going support.
The Trust has established its own directory of people around the country who are involved in owl rehabilitation and now receives calls from across the UK and even from abroad.
Because conservation is the main part of our work, we haven't as yet produced many leaflets on the subject of owl welfare. However over the years our website has developed and now contains all of our advice and recommendations on what to do in case you find an owl.
That said, the first two leaflets we did produce ‘What to do if you find a young Tawny Owl', and ‘What to do if you find a young Barn Owl' were mailed out to rehabilitators across the UK and were extremely well received.
In 2012 we published the comprehensive Barn Owl Conservation Handbook, and chapter 9 is a very detailed guide to casualty assessment, short-term care and the principles of rehabilitation. It has been suggested that this chapter be produced as a leaflet in it's own right, which we hope to do in the future.
In 2009 we published a 'Rehabilitation Report' which presents figures on the number of bird casualties received by the Barn Owl Trust and what happened to them up to the point of release. Background information and a brief outline of the rehabilitation process are also included so as to provide the reader with an understanding of the Trust's involvement in this type of work. However, the aim of the report is not to provide detailed guidance with regard to dealing with casualties or the selection/operation of the most appropriate release method.
Support our work
If your main owl-interest is in welfare, rescue, first aid, care, rehabilitation, or release, please help us to develop this area of our work by supporting the Barn Owl Trust.