About the Barn Owl
Barn Owl conservation in Britain (who does what)
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The Barn Owl Trust is the only national organisation that's entirely dedicated to conserving Barn Owls and we carry out a huge range of activities. However, we are by no means the only organisation involved. The RSPB encourages Barn Owls mainly through strategic input into agricultural policy reform, the Hawk and Owl Trust carries out a range of activities for a wide range of owls and raptors.The Barn Owl Conservation Network, DEFRA, and to a lesser extent RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts advise individual farmers on encouraging wildlife via agri-environment grant schemes such as Entry Level and Higher Level Stewardship.
A wide variety of organisations help by maintaining nature reserves. But unfortunately both nature reserves and farms supported by agri-environment grants are often not managed with Barn Owls in mind (they are more often managed for the general enrichment of biodiversity or for other species). Thus the majority of these areas do not provide ideal Barn Owl habitat. In any case, widespread species such as the Barn Owl cannot be adequately protected by the creation of isolated nature reserves; rather, they depend upon the availability of habitat and nest sites across vast rural areas.
Barn Owl Groups and individuals
Fortunately a significant proportion of farmers and landowners across the UK have some interest in Barn Owls. Similarly, there are numerous owl enthusiasts dotted around the UK who erect nestboxes, encourage habitat creation, and monitor Barn Owl sites. Some of these are very independent individuals for whom Barn Owls are a private hobby whilst others operate as organised "open house" volunteer groups that seek public support.
Largely due to volunteer efforts, over 25,000 Barn Owl nestboxes have been erected in Britain and within the BTO's Barn Owl Monitoring Project volunteers are checking over 300 sites twice yearly gathering valuable information on what's happening to the owl population. There are also a fair number of people dotted around the country who take in and rehabilitate owl casualties.
The Barn Owl Trust is in contact with many of the individuals and groups around the UK who are actively involved in encouraging Barn Owls in their own local areas (the BOCN which is part of the Hawk and Owl Trust performs a similar "networking" function). Some of these are farmers, some are BTO bird ringers, many just focus on erecting nestboxes, and some deal with injured owls.
Wherever you are in the UK the Barn Owl Trust can usually put you in touch with a local contact if needed.