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How to encourage wild Barn Owls

How to manage land for Barn Owls

  • The best foraging habitat is rough grassland with a high population of Field Voles – Barn Owls’ main prey.
  • If you manage land in the countryside, the best way to encourage Barn Owls is to increase their food supply by creating strips or patches of rough tussocky grassland at least 4 metres wide, with a litter layer of dead grass, at least 7 cm deep. About Barn Owl habitat.
  • Barn Owls in Britain hunt over open fields – mainly lowland farmland – they are not woodland birds and are rarely found in urban areas. Find out if your area is suitable.
  • Find out more about how to manage land for Barn Owls.

There’s comprehensive information about habitat creation in the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook. Chris Packham (BBC) says “if ever there was a book to save a species, this is it”.

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Provide a roosting and nesting place

There’s more information about nestboxes and built-in nesting spaces in the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook. Ian Carter (Natural England) says “this volume is the definitive guide”.

Avoid using rat poison

Offer extra food in bad weather

If your local Barn Owl roosts in a building or box, you may be able to offer a temporary extra food supply during periods of severe weather. Find out more about feeding wild Barn Owls

Buy the products of wildlife-friendly farming

  • Foods produced by intensive farming methods are generally bad for wildlife.
  • Choose products from organic farms and/or from local growers that encourage wildlife.
  • Look for these symbols Conservation Grade, Fair to Nature, Nature-friendly Farming, Farming for Wildlife, Soil Association, Organic.

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Help your local Barn Owl Group

Most counties have an independent voluntary Barn Owl Group or an individual actively involved in Barn Owl conservation. Some of these seek public support and welcome new helpers. Find out who’s active in your area by going to the Barn Owl Directory.

Start your own Barn Owl Project

The Barn Owl Trust was founded on the work of one couple who, in 1984, started visiting farms in their area to see if they had resident Barn Owls. They erected nestboxes, and talked to farmers about habitat creation and safer rodent control. You could do the same! Before you begin it’s a good idea to check the Barn Owl Directory to find out if anyone is already doing similar work in your area.

Everything you need to know about Barn Owls in order to run your project is in the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook. Mike Toms (BTO) says “this book is upbeat and practical…accessible to readers from a wealth of backgrounds”.

Object to damaging rural developments


Help minimise the Climate and Ecological Crisis

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Support the Barn Owl Trust

  • The Barn Owl Trust is a very small charity working hard to Conserve the Barn Owl and its Environment.
  • We receive no government funding and do not have a wealthy patron or benefactor – in order to continue our work, we are reliant on your generous support.
  • Please Become a Friend of the Barn Owl Trust, Adopt a Barn Owl, or Leave a Legacy to help ‘the bringer of dreams’. Thank you.