News Bytes – December 2023

News Bytes – December 2023

These news bytes have appeared on our social media sites, FacebookX, formerly known as Twitter and Instagram during the month and have been pulled together here.

December started off with a reminder of Christmas of course – thank you to all those who donated towards our Annual Raffle which was drawn on 6th December, and we also dealt with many orders for adoptions, cards, calendars and presents on the run up to the big day.  Our shop remains open all year round, so please remember us!


On 3rd December we re-posted information on the Nepal Owl Festival… We met Raju when the Barn owl Trust presented two papers at the World Owl Conference in 2017. The Nepal Owl Festival is definitely worth supporting.



We asked you to spare a thought for Hen Harriers…

Hen harriers


Belgrave Barn Owl Antics supported us through selling their own calendars… There are some amazing people who support the work of the Barn Owl Trust in all sorts of imaginative ways!

Thank you all so much, we work very hard to make every penny count, click here to find out how.

Belgrave 12 belgrave


We invited you to join us for a walk around our 26 acre nature reserve to see the winter birds. See the haven we have created for wildlife, with open grassland & woodland alongside the River Ashburn. This unique nature reserve is not normally open to the public.

12 winter bird walk


It’s heart-warming to see how much effort some people will put into taking care of a Barn Owl!

Here’s  how to pick up a live owl!

12 fire crew


New ACO, Kate, made her first water trough float this week. Within 30 seconds of installing it a young bullock decided to give it a try!

We recommend installing these trough floats where there are known Barn Owls nearby as they are prone to drowning. The float doesn’t impede the normal use of the trough by animals but could potentially be life saving for the Owls, making the depth of the water shallower using mesh. Details on how to build these are available on our website here.

12 water float


Tawny Owls have many different colour morphs! This stunning chestnut-coloured female was named Jendia by her finders.

12 jendia Jendia 2

Jendia was brought to us after being found by the side of the road. Thankfully she was in pristine condition and an excellent weight despite likely suffering mild concussion, so after a week of rehab here she was able to be released back into her patch of woodland.  Tawny Owl facts


Don’t forget to save all your used Christmas stamps for us!

You can make a difference even without spare cash – here are  some more ways to help.

#givingwithoutmoney #savestampsforcharity

12 fenton stamps


Barn Owls are well known for being white, but they are such a beautiful mixture of colours! Here you can see the contrast between the orange-brown and blue-grey of the top of the wings with the bright white underwings – click here  for some Barn owl facts.   This colouration is potentially an example of counter-shading camouflage where the top half helps them to blend into grassland and the white underbelly reduces the appearance of a silhouette when flying.

However, interesting research from Europe (where there is greater variation in plumage colouration) found evidence that owls with brighter whiter undersides are better at stunning/startling their prey and so could be another contributing factor! (San-Jose et al., 2019) Click  here  to read the paper on plumage colour.


We are looking for support to install Barn Owl nestboxes at sites in Devon for our new research project!

Do you have an outbuilding or tree in an area of open countryside and are you interested in having a Barn Owl nestbox? If so, please check out the criteria below and get in touch with us by email: or phone: 01364 255256.

Please only get in touch if you meet these criteria:

– Nestboxes will only be installed in suitable buildings or trees in areas of open countryside that are not within 1km or a major road (motorway or dual carriageway).

– Buildings need to be constantly accessible by owls and so can either be open-fronted or have an owl entrance hole inserted. The building needs to be tall enough that the nestbox can be a minimum of three metres off the ground. For more information on where a nestbox can be placed within a building, please see our webpage here

– Trees need to be large enough to hold the nestbox and face towards open countryside. An isolated tree within a field, one on a hedgerow or one on the outer edge of woodland facing open fields are potential options. The nestbox again needs to be a minimum of 3m high and needs to be visible from afar and so can’t be obscured by a low canopy or vegetation. More information on what makes a suitable tree can be found on our webpage here.

As part of the research project, we will do a habitat survey of the land surrounding the box. We’ll also check the box annually for the first three summers after installation to find out if and when Barn Owls or any other species make themselves at home.

By donating towards the costs of making and installing your nestbox, you will be furthering our research and providing a potential home for owls and other wildlife.

12 nestboxes


A small group of cattle help by grazing our conservation grassland each winter, and 14 Belted Galloway arrived on our Nature Reserve today

Please visit our webpage on how to manage land for Barn Owls for more information.

12 belties

Wishing all our supporters a very Happy Christmas & Peaceful New Year!

Thank you so much for all your support in 2023, it really has been greatly appreciated by all the Team here at the Trust.

12 happy christmas





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