April News Bytes 2023

These newsbytes have appeared on our social media sites, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the month and have been pulled together here.

Nestboxing1 2

Our Conservation Team recently erected these two Barn Owl nestboxes  Both of these trees are ideal for a nestbox because they are mature, have thick trunks and no over-hanging canopies.

If you’re interested in building/buying a Barn Owl treebox


State of the UK Barn Owl Population (SOUKBOP) report 20223

The results are in!

“A good year for Barn Owls despite the summer drought.” This is the conclusion from our State of the UK Barn Owl Population (SOUKBOP) 2022 report.

Read all about it: https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/…/current-uk-barn-owl…/


Happy Easter to all our supporters!6

Our office is closed tomorrow (Good Friday) and reopens on Tuesday 11th April.

Join us for a gentle Spring walk on Wednesday, around our nature reserve, managed for Barn Owls, here on the edge of beautiful Dartmoor! https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/news-events/events/



The latest surveillance in barn owls together with recent intelligence from the government-run Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme ring alarm bells for professional-grade rodenticide users, according to the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use. Chairman Dr Alan Buckle emphasises that this alert is being issued to farmers in parallel with gamekeepers and pest control technicians on a “no blame” basis.

“Clearly, everyone using rodenticides in rural locations shares responsibility to prevent access by non-target wildlife, for which barn owls are the government-designated benchmark,” he says.

Of particular concern in the CRRU surveillance is that two-thirds of the latest sample of barn owls had residues from products containing brodifacoum (See: CRRU report), an active ingredient in many brands, though in none was it confirmed as the cause of death.

“Yet no such products are licensed for use in ‘open areas’ where the main food sources for barn owls, field mice and voles, are often found,” says Dr Buckle. “So it’s highly likely that brodifacoum-contaminated field mice and voles eaten by owls have acquired residues from rodenticide products placed illegally in open areas.

“Equally concerning is a sudden and marked increase in the numbers of wildlife incidents involving brodifacoum. At least some of these involve either negligent misuse or intentional abuse to harm wildlife.”

On all rodenticide product labels, manufacturers have to include specific instructions required by the government regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Failing to follow these, whether deliberate or unintended, is illegal and risks prosecution.

CRRU is reminding gamekeepers and pest control technicians as well as farmers of the legally binding ‘Directions For Use’ printed on every rodenticide product label. They cover allowed outdoor uses, either around buildings, in open countryside or in rodent burrows. In all cases, product label instructions about protecting bait placements from non-target species must be followed.

1) ‘Outdoors – around buildings’: allows bait to be deployed outside a building ONLY to treat or prevent an infestation inside it. The label may state elsewhere that use ‘Indoors’ is also allowed.

2) ‘In and around buildings’: allows bait use outdoors to control an infestation of a building as well as inside.

3) ‘Open areas’: covers treating an infestation of rats (but never mice) that is NOT DEMONSTRABLY associated with a building. Products containing brodifacoum, difethialone and flocoumafen MUST NEVER be used in ‘open areas’ away from buildings. Moreover, not all of those containing difenacoum and bromadiolone are authorised for use in ‘open areas’.

4) ‘Burrow baiting’: permitted on some product labels and means that baits can be applied directly into rodent burrows, generally outdoors. This is allowed away from buildings ONLY IF the product label says that BOTH burrow baiting AND open area uses are allowed.

CRRU’s core message to farmers, gamekeepers and pest control technicians alike remains: Always read labels carefully before using rodenticide products and employ all relevant instructions.



Spring walk cancelled due to weather6

We are so sorry, but due to bad weather forecast for this afternoon we have made the decision to postpone our Spring Walk to next week – Wednesday 19th, at the same time. Please do contact the office on info@barnowltrust.org.uk if you would like to join us – Fingers crossed for a little bit of sun!


Climate Coalition











Save Our Wild Isles programme












This beautiful Brimstone butterfly was seen by Pip on the first of this season’s butterfly surveys which happened last week

Rough grassland is a wonderful habitat for invertebrates, and by July our reserve will be teeming with butterflies of many different species

We’re running a Butterfly Walk event on the 5th of July: www.barnowltrust.org.uk/butterfly-walk-3/


2023 Christmas Prize Draw

This year the Barn Owl Trust Christmas Prize Draw takes place on 6th December 2023. Last year we broke the record for fundraising for the Draw with some super prizes. This year we are aiming to top that, and we have some incredible prizes already donated by some amazingly generous companies

These include:10

– The Scottish Seabird Centre – A Family ticket

– Bletchley Park – A Family season ticket

– Royal Yacht Britannia – Two tickets for entry

– Sandridge Barton Wines – 2x guided tasting vouchers

– Rafikis Ashburton – Brunch for two

– Holly Hagg Farm – Alpaca Trekking Voucher

– Dartmoor Walks this Way – ½ day guided Dartmoor Walk

– Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary – Entry for 2 people

– Scotts Chainsaw Carving – A carving of a Barn Owl

– LBW Drinks – A Bottle of Fruit Wine

– Luscombe Drinks – A Pack of 4 Luscombe soft drinks

– Honey Ingram – A Bee cushion cover & hanging decoration

– South Devon Railway – Tickets for the steam train

– Creeping Thyme Restaurant Bovey Tracey – Voucher for £20 towards a meal

Tickets will go quickly with these super prizes and are only £1 each or £5 for a book of 5. You can purchase them by contacting us at the Barn Owl Trust by phone: 01364 255256, email: info@barnowltrust.org.uk, or by going through our website www.barnowltrust.org.uk where the 2023 Christmas Draw page will be up shortly. Good Luck!


Oil Beetles11

At the Barn Owl Trust, we love all creatures Harry spotted this stunning Violet Oil Beetle on our reserve this week! According to Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust “April is the perfect time to find one of these iridescent insects”! So keep a look out

More info here: https://www.buglife.org.uk/…/bug…/violet-oil-beetle/


Roe Deer on the reserve12

This Roe Buck is often seen on our reserve. Unlike the other deer, when he sees people he stands and watches for a while before slowly moving away! We think he’s particularly getting used to Harry, our Reserve Officer, being around

Our Wildlife Diary: https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/wildlife-diary-2023/

Read more about Roe Deer on the Mammal Society‘s website: https://www.mammal.org.uk/…/discover…/species-roe-deer/


Nesting Barn Owls

Although nesting has been record13ed in every month of the year, the main breeding season for Barn Owls is March – August. We have been receiving reports of Barn Owls on eggs and all have our fingers crossed for a good season this year

Unlike most bird species Barn Owls begin incubation as soon as the first egg is laid This results in “asynchronous” hatching and the age difference between the oldest and youngest nestlings can be as much as three weeks! This age variation serves to reduce the peak in food demand and spread it over a longer period The female does all the incubation and the male provides all the food until the young are around 3 weeks old Find out all about nesting Barn Owls: https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/barn-owl-facts/barn-owl-nesting/


Barn Owl Trust talks14

Feedback from a recent online Restoring the Balance talk to Melbreak Wildlife Group:

“Thank you for giving such an excellent talk to the Wildlife Group last night!”

“A really well presented and fascinating evening!”

“We enjoyed it enormously and learned a lot!”

“We have very much enjoyed the talk this evening – it was fascinating and inspiring!”

“Much enjoyed the Barn Owl talk. Excellent speaker and questions!”

Book a talk with us: https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/about…/adult-group-talks/


Marathon runner Josh raises money for the Barn Owl Trust!15

Today’s the Day!! Go Josh!!

Josh is running the London Marathon in aid of The Barn Owl Trust. His fundraising page is still open so do head on over to support him at: https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundra…/josh-gives-a-hoot

Here he is in his kit, keep an eye out for him and give him a big cheer! Well done Josh!! Thank you so much! We’re all rooting for you!


Owl rehab and release16

We received a Tawny Owl last week who was found on a minor road in the South Hams. Thankfully, the bird had no obvious injuries but was underweight and so we held him in our bird hospital for a few days while he got to a healthy weight. Here the video shows us conducting a flight test to check for strong coordinated flight before his release tonight at dusk!

Do you know what to do if you find an injured owl? https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/picking-up-a-live-owl/

Full video: https://www.facebook.com/BarnOwlTrust/videos/778209230400563


Tawny Owls










Slow worms on the reserve18

This beautiful pair of Slow worms was spotted on our reserve earlier this week by Lucy! These leg-less lizards are only recently out of hibernation and love basking in warm spots!

Find out all about them on the The Wildlife Trusts website: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlif…/reptiles/slow-worm



Bi-parental care19

Barn Owls exhibit bi-parental care. Up until the young are 3 weeks old, the female does all the incubation and the male provides all the food. After this point, both parents undertake the hunting duties.

Find out more: https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/…/owlets-young-barn-owls/



Free shipping!20

Extended Free Shipping on our Teemill Store this weekend!

Any order placed on the Barn Owl Trust Teemill clothing store between 9am Today and midnight Monday 1st May will receive free shipping!


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