Barn Owl Monitoring
Barn Owls are a widely recognised species in the UK. They suffered declines in the 20th century due to pesticide use and loss of suitable foraging habitat, but through farmland conservation efforts their numbers have stabilised.
The Owl Box Initiative's licenced staff and volunteer ornithologists will monitor over 100 Barn Owl nest boxes during the 2021 breeding season to establish site occupancy rates, breeding success and survival across six farmers clusters, to assess the current local Barn Owl population. As part of the project's monitoring protocol, adult Barn Owls and chicks will be aged and sexed, and ringed with uniquely numbered leg rings provided by the British Trust for Ornithology, so individual's movements and life history traits can be tracked over time.
Project Manager, Dr Niamh McHugh checking a Barn Owl box under licence, and ringing a young chick.