May News Bytes 2023

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


Orchids on our reserve

We manage a small patch of our reserve for these Early Purple Orchids and each year the number of plants increases  This year, 146 were counted!  Find out how our reserve started in this link The Lennon Legacy Project

Orchid 2 Orchid 1


Our Conservation Officers are regularly out checking sites, giving habitat management advice and installing Barn Owl nestboxes. In the absence of a building to put a nestbox in, Barn Owl tree-boxes are the next best option. We have more information, free cutting plans and professional instructional videos about our owl boxes in the website or you can purchase them from our shop.

Tree box 1 Tree box 2

Bee fly


Have you seen a Bee-fly?

This fly is a bee-mimic who loves the sunshine  We believe this one, which was spotted on our reserve, is a Dark-edged Bee-fly, which has the fantastic Latin name Bombylius major!

More info on the Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust website

“It’s easy to make space in buildings for wildlife. It doesn’t cost more. It doesn’t have to be ‘bolted on’. It can be integrated into a holistic design.” – Kit Smithson

Kit is the Architect ( who worked on this barn which was built within Tiggins Meadow (a private rewilding project in East Suffolk). A Barn Owl nesting space was incorporated in the design and a pair of Barn Owls quickly moved in! One began roosting before construction had even finished! We will have full details in the next copy of our Feedback Magazine  Here’s a link to Barn Owl nest spaces within buildings

Buildings 1 Buildings 2 Buildings 3 Buildings 4


Even if Barn Owls aren’t present at a site, it’s often easy to tell if they’ve been there

Signs of occupation

Signs of occupation include:

  • Pellets
  • Droppings
  • Nest and roost debris
  • Feathers
  • Dead adults
  • Dead owlets
  • Smell
  • Small mammal remains

Please log your Barn Owl sightings here


Garden Open Day in memoriumGarden open day

On 4th June 2023 there will be a Garden Open Day in memory of Dorothy Mellersh and in aid of the Barn Owl Trust, with discretionary donations on the door. Make an online donation here.

The White House, Gore Lane, Alderley Edge, SK9 7SP
June 4th 2023 11am – 3pm
Please join us to raise much needed funds for The Barn Owl Trust.  One-acre country garden and adjoining five-acre hay meadow – where barn owls visit regularly – will be open to raise funds in support of The Barn Owl Trust, and to remember Dorothy Mellersh, who created a haven for wildlife at her family home over a period of forty-five years, and which carries on today.  Online donations can be made here.
All donations will be matched by the Mellersh family.  With special thanks to Brian Clouston OBE for his generous design advice over five decades, and to Jane Ford, for her invaluable weekly support.


Barn Owl adaptations

Discover the intriguing adaptions that gave Barn Owls the ability to fly silently and detect the tiny sounds of their prey amongst vegetation!



Wow what a picture!

This stunning canvas of a Barn Owl was painted by Sarah Taylor. She has been painting animals in this style for nearly 10 years and we are delighted that she has kindly donated this canvas to us for the Christmas Prize Draw on 7th December! Based in the Lake District, Sarah’s exuberant use of colour is a celebration of life!   Thank you so much!



Love is in the air for these Green-veined White butterflies!

The Green-veined White Butterfly (Pieris napi) is a common species, seen between April and October.  The Wildlife Trust has lots of information on them!



Devon County Show

The Barn Owl Trust attended the Devon County Show for all three days! There were many visitors to the stand wanting to chat with us about owls, nestboxes and habitat management   If you didn’t catch us this time, we will be at the Royal Cornwall Show 8th-10th June.  We hope to see you there!

Dcs1 Dcs2 Dcs3


Wildflowers on the LLP reserve

We hold regular events on our private reserve near Ashburton, Devon!   Click on the link to book your place!





By 5 weeks old, Barn Owls can run, jump, pounce, hiss and click their tongues. They typically move their heads from side to side, round and round, even looking upside down! The characteristic heart-shaped face appears and the flight feathers can be seen underneath the white fluffy down.

Take a look at our age determination guide for estimating an owlet’s age.

Photo by Helier Mason



Putting up a Barn Owl box in memoriam 

Barn Owls have been regularly seen near this churchyard, and this box was put up in memory of someone who loved owls.  What a wonderful way to remember someone.

Churchyard1 Churchyard2 Churchyard3

Sally book


The Book of the Barn Owl!

We are absolutely delighted to let you know we now have copies of the talented author Sally Coulthard’s book titled ‘The Book of the Barn Owl’ in our shop.

This gorgeous hardback book is beautifully illustrated and full of fascinating facts – a must read for any Barn Owl fan!

A beautifully written book about a beautiful bird. Fact filled, yet totally engaging.”
David Ramsden, MBE, Barn Owl Trust.


Our Conservation Team recently visited the wonderful Ash Rescue Centre in Devon

The first photo shows their wildlife tower, which is currently in use by Barn Owls, and the second shows a new Barn Owl nestbox erected by our Conservation Team. They put up an indoor box too!

The middle photo shows lightly grazed pasture habitat with part of the centre’s five acres of wild bird food crop behind it.

Managing land for Barn Owls is just as important as providing nest sites, perhaps even more so!

Ash2  Ash4 Ash1


The fourth Barn Owl in this brood hatched recently


Can you spot all four in the video? In the first week after hatching, the most common sound made by the owlets is a soft chittering, particularly when uncovered.

What you can do to help Barn Owls.

Photo credit: John Osborne


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