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Boxes for Barn Owls

Conservation in the countryside

A thriving barn owl population is good news for both the barn owls and for our Estate Ranger, Steve Jones, based at The Ernest Cook Trust’s Fairford Estate in Gloucestershire, who views them as a barometer for conservation in the countryside. 

“It’s important that we continue to manage our estates in ways that are sympathetic to wildlife habitats. Strong barn owl numbers are a good indicator of the success of our conservation practices.”

Like many species, barn owl numbers have been under threat, largely due to diminishing natural habitats. As their name suggests, traditional barns provide ideal nesting sites – the inevitable demolition of some of these buildings across the wider landscape, together with some modern farming practices has been detrimental to barn owl populations in recent years.

Across the Trust’s home estates, Steve has been installing nesting boxes for barn owls with the help of local conservationist Nick Adams. Nick’s surveillance of local wildlife provides invaluable data which helps inform the Trust’s conservation work to improve habitats and enhance wildlife populations.  

The Trust’s Coln and Leach Farm Cluster Group – incorporating our home estate tenant farmers – has also been involved with this project. Fourteen nesting boxes were initially installed on their farms across the Fairford and Hatherop estates with more planned in the future months. Twenty pairs of barn owls have so far been recorded, with boxes being carefully monitored two to three times annually.

A breeding pair of barn owls will use the same nesting site for years, if undisturbed, so we look forward to hosting thriving populations of barn owls on our estates for many years to come.

Strong barn owl numbers are a good indicator of the success of our conservation practices.
Steve Jones, Estate Ranger