Barn Owl Trust courses for ecologists and planners

We offer 2 different one-day courses:

  • Barn Owl Ecology, Surveys and Signs (BOESS) – a one-day foundation course covering Barn Owl ecology, legislation, surveying and basic mitigation. Typically run twice in February, July and November.
  • Advanced Barn Owl Surveying and Mitigation (ABOSM) – for previous attendees of BOESS, our advanced course covers surveying, mitigation, and report preparation in much greater detail. This is another one-day course typically run four to six times a year.

To book or register your interest please email

These courses are aimed primarily at ecologists who conduct Barn Owl surveys at potential development sites and the planning officers who deal with such applications. However, a wide variety of people have attended over the years including listed building specialists, wildlife crime officers, FWAG advisers, volunteer Barn Owl workers and students.

A local farm is used for practical experience - Barn Owl Trust coursesNext Barn Owl Trust course dates

If you would like to be added to the mailing list for details of the next Barn Owl Survey Courses, please contact us on

We will be running the BOESS and ABOSM courses when possible, as follows:

  • Combined course – DATE TO BE CONFIRMED

Please note that places on ABOSM are only available to people who have already completed BOESS, either on the previous day or at some earlier time.

If you are interested  please register your interest via as we may run the courses at other times if demand is high. Bookings will be on a first come, first served basis.

Barn Owl Ecology, Surveys and Signs (BOESS)

Our foundation BOESS course is a packed 1-day course based at the Barn Owl Trust offices in South Devon. It has been running since 2005 with over 1,200 participants to date.

What does the BOESS course cover?

Courses Training Classroom BoessCourse content includes:

  • Barn Owl ecology.
  • Decline and conservation.
  • Barn Owl protection, legislation and nest inspection licensing.
  • Correct survey and search techniques.
  • Interpretation of Barn Owl evidence.
  • Health and Safety and risk assessments.
  • Planning and mitigation strategies for Barn Owls.

The course is delivered using a combination of presentations and practical work including a field trip to a local farm to examine genuine wild Barn Owl nest and roost sites.

Cost: How much is the BOESS course and what does that include?

Barn Owl Trust Courses Barn Boess SurveyThe course costs £290. This includes:

  • A copy of the Barn Owl Conservation Handbook.
  • A field trip to a genuine wild Barn Owl site.
  • A certificate of completion which acts as a reference towards gaining a Schedule 1 licence.
  • All drinks and refreshments.
  • A locally sourced delicious lunch.
  • Full training from knowledgeable and experienced staff.
  • A course pack with supplementary information.
  • Successful completion of BOESS qualifies you to take the advanced course (see ABOSM below).
  • Ecologists who attend this course are entitled to be listed in the Barn Owl Directory.

Take both Barn Owl Trust training courses and save £40!
Both Barn Owl Trust courses can be taken on 2 consecutive days for a discounted combined price of £500.

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Advanced Barn Owl Surveying and Mitigation (ABOSM)

ABOSM was developed in 2011 following feedback from BOESS participants who wanted to gain a more in-depth knowledge of surveying and mitigation techniques.
Available to people who have successfully completed the BOESS course.
1-day course based at the Barn Owl Trust offices in South Devon.

What does the ABOSM course cover?

Barn Owl Trust Courses Rushlade Barn Fieldtrip Open ABOSMThis course is designed to offer participants a more practical day with knowledge gained through hands on discovery. There are 2 field trips – one to improve Barn Owl surveying techniques and the second to take a practical look at good Barn Owl habitat, its management, and a Wildlife Tower. These are new sites not visited on the BOESS course. Classroom sessions include: advanced survey techniques, the formulation of mitigation strategies, recommendations, and reports.

How much does the ABOSM course cost?

The course costs £250 which includes:

  • Full training from knowledgeable and experienced staff.
  • Barn Owl Trust Courses Pellets Survey Abosm2 field trips to genuine Barn Owl sites.
  • All drinks and refreshments.
  • A delicious, locally sourced lunch.
  • A course pack with supplementary information.
  • A certificate of attendance.
  • In depth course, suitable for people who have completed BOESS.
  • Ongoing support from the Barn Owl Trust.

This advanced course is specifically designed for past participants of BOESS.

Next course dates

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Feedback from previous attendees of Barn Owl Trust training courses:

“a fantastic course… I would highly recommend” – See a review of the course by Martin O’Connor – an ecologist formerly from Arbtech ecological surveyors.

“One of the best courses I’ve done in 10 years as a professional ecologist” – Gareth Parkinson, Hazelwood Conservation

“Overall, I definitely feel more confident and competent with Barn Owl surveying and would definitely recommend the course to colleagues” – Ecologist

“I have had extremely positive feedback from the ecologists who have attended the course. They thoroughly enjoyed the course and found it very informative. The lunch arrangements were also very popular! Just thought I would let you know that we do appreciate you running these courses and will continue to send our new staff on courses you run in the future” – Administration Manager of Keystone Environmental Ltd

“The combination of high quality trainers, venues, administration and supporting resources, along with thoughtful design and passionate delivery, allow the BOESS and ABOSM courses to achieve normally difficult balances among ecological, conservation and development concerns.
Underpinned by theory and grounded in practice and pragmatism, this expert training qualifies attendees as professional barn owl surveyors. It should be regarded as a mandatory industry standard for anyone whose work is related to the conservation of this species, not least because minimisation of disturbance is the guiding principal.

Furthermore, it potentially delivers enormous value to public and private end clients by equipping participants to ensure that developments comply with or exceed the requirements of legislative and policy frameworks. Practitioners graduate with the skills and “ammunition” to survey and design mitigation with professionalism and confidence. Interested amateurs can gain a whole new understanding of the species and how they may contribute to its protection. Heartily recommended.” – Dr Chris Coles, Coles Development Consulting

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