Devon Barn Owl Survey 2013
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Following previous surveys in 1993 and 2003, this year will see Devon's Barn Owl population surveyed by the Barn Owl Trust for the third consecutive decade!
The most important aspect of the survey is to record active nest sites. For this reason, the survey cannot get into full swing until nesting activity becomes evident; usually late May. If you are lucky, you may hear the young calling for food in the evening and be able to report this to us (see below). From July onwards, nests can be carefully checked during the day (by trained and licensed fieldworkers) with little risk of disturbing adult birds.
In 2003 we checked/recorded 1,176 sites and recorded 281 nests and 348 roost sites. This year we already have 1,236 to check although it appears that many of these will be unoccupied as Barn Owls have had such a terrible time in recent years due to the frequency of extreme weather events.
The 2013 Devon Barn Owl Survey method mainly involves;
1. Re-checking all the nest sites and roost sites recorded since 1st January 2003
2. Recording both previously unrecorded and newly occupied roost or nest sites
Its purpose is:
1. To identify changes in the species' status across the whole of Devon, and at all known nest/roost sites
2. To identify threats to the continued occupation of individual sites and opportunities for pro-active conservation work to maintain site occupation and maximise the birds' survival and nesting success.
How you can help these wonderful birds:
- Become a Devon Barn Owl Survey Volunteer (see below)
- Report all casual observations such as; a Barn Owl you saw whilst driving or perhaps the presence of Barn Owl pellets in an outbuilding or the suspected occupation of a Barn Owl nestbox you know of - even if it was erected by the Barn Owl Trust - all records are welcome!
- Make a donation to support the survey. This is not just research! This is a vital population health-check that will be followed up by practical conservation work wherever needed.
How to report a sighting or occupied site:
- Phone us on 01364 653026 Mon-Friday between 9am and 5pm
- Visit our Barn Owl Survey website to record it online
- Fill out a paper recording form and post it to us, please see link to the right.
- Look at the recording form then email the details to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteering for the 2013 Devon Barn Owl Survey
- During September to November 2013 trained Survey volunteers will be visiting all the farms in certain pre-selected map squares to interview all farmers (etc.) and gather reliable reports of Barn Owls. You will need a car but should be able to do your survey quite close to home. Please register your interest as soon as possible by post, or email email@example.com
Note: Physical detailed searches of farm buildings and trees can only be carried out by people who are capable of using large heavy ladders and who have been trained to work safely whilst avoiding disturbance. A licence from Natural England is also required.
The Devon Barn Owl Survey is a joint project with the Devon Birdwatching and Preservation Society.
For those who live west of the Tamar; 2014 will be the year of the 3rd Cornwall Barn Owl Survey after similar surveys in 1994 and 2004.