Latest News, Wildlife | Posted: Monday, August 3rd, 2020 at 12:37 pm | return to news

Breeding success for barn owls in Dorset

Here is a picture to warm your heart – a baby barn owl, or barn owlet, being checked by a licensed volunteer in Dorset.

Barn owlet being checked by a licensed volunteer
Barn owlet being checked by a licensed volunteer

Twenty five per cent of Dorset Council farms now have a barn owl box, with 11 having been installed over the last two years.

When the boxes were inspected in July, six chicks were found in four boxes.

It is an offence to disturb a barn owl whilst it is building a nest or is in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young or to disturb a barn owl’s dependent young.

These barn owl boxes were checked and ringed by volunteers under a British Trust for Ornithology ringing and disturbance licence. The information gathered from putting these specially designed rings on birds’ legs means more can be understood about them including their survival and the condition of the birds.

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Kingcombe volunteers have made trough floats which have now been installed on the farms, to prevent owls from drowning when using the troughs to bathe or drink.

Barn owls have a distinctive heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white underparts. They are nocturnal and eat mice, voles, shrews and some larger mammals and small birds.

To encourage barn owls onto farms, tenants and landowners can manage the land with barn owls in mind. By keeping areas of grass uncut and rough edges this creates good habitats for voles which are their main food source.

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