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BOESS Course


Barn Owl Ecology, Surveys and Signs course

Our online BOESS training course can be worked through at your own pace. Each module of the course is made up of video presentations and multiple-choice questions. Our team are available via email, phone or Zoom to support you during the course and afterwards (Monday-Friday 10:00-16:00).

This comprehensive course consists of five modules:

  1. Barn Owl Ecology
  2. Legal Protection, Licence Applications and Minimising Disturbance
  3. Survey Methodology and Search Procedures
  4. Evidence of Occupation
  5. Mitigation and Planning

We advise allowing 10-15 hours to complete this course.

We recommend our online course as the best way to learn about Barn Owl ecology and surveys as we are not holding any face-to-face training.

If you have any questions about the course, please email


The BOESS course costs £300 per person, which includes a copy of the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook for attendees within mainland UK. If you are outside of mainland UK and wish to receive a copy of the Handbook, please contact us on or 01364 255 256 to arrange payment for postage.

The Barn Owl Trust offers a discounted rate of £250 per person to anyone whose salary is paid directly by a registered charity. If you would like to apply for this discount rate, please email and attach your proof – for example, a redacted bank statement or pay slip. Please note that this is the only discount available.

© All content of the BOESS Course* is Copyright, The Barn Owl Trust, Registered Charity No. 1201419

Boess intro & contents page
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Barn Owl Licences

The certificate from the online BOESS course is accepted in lieu of one reference for the Class Licence application to Natural England or one reference for the Bird Survey licence application to NatureScot. The four Statutory Nature Conservation Organisations have further information on their websites, covering:

If you are looking to find an ecological consultancy or Barn Owl group to gain experience with in order to get your second reference, we have a directory on our website with all of our local contacts – you may find a useful contact near you.

Feedback from course participants

“I thought this was the best ecology-focused course I have done; it was interesting, informative, full of facts and the multiple test format was very challenging, which makes the passing of the course so much more rewarding.”

Rob Spencer

Ecologist, Green Lid Ecology

“Thank you for a brilliant course! It’s not only informative, but empowering to surveyors in instilling confidence and clear guidelines to allow us to support the recovery and resilience of the UK barn owl population (and the species they are connected to).”

Amy Wardle


“I very much enjoyed it. Excellent learning material, well structured and very thorough.”

Ric Miller

Ecologist, Helm Ecology