Paradise Park

Wildlife Sanctuary • Cornwall

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Joint Barn Owl Project

29th August 2016

Barn Owl chicks at a nest check. Photo: Joanna CleggCornwall Bird Watching & Preservation Society and Paradise Park have joined forces to provide new homes for Cornish Barn Owls, and marking them with rings to monitor their progress and movements.

Director of Paradise Park Alison Hales comments “ If you are lucky you might have seen a Barn Owl, pale with big rounded wings, flying at dusk low over rough grassland. For these owls to thrive they need habitat with plenty of small mammals (especially voles) to eat, and a cosy place to shelter. They face many perils including traffic collisions, poisoning from rodenticides and cold or wet winters – so need all the help they can get.”

“We asked the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society (CBWPS) what limits the Barn Owl population in the county and it identified a lack of nest sites as a major factor. The last Barn Owl survey in Cornwall in 2004, showed that there were between 270 and 360 pairs – most were using boxes provided for them.”

Mark Grantham Chairman of CBWPS said “We already work with the West Cornwall Ringing Group and National Trust, monitoring nests and marking chicks with numbered rings. Sadly we have found that productivity of nests in 2016 has been very low, we think this is due to the cold, wet, spring weather. This is a good time for Paradise Park to give its support, both with funds and by raising awareness, as the species will need help to recover in the next breeding season.

So, if you own land in Cornwall where there is good habitat and a building for Barn Owls, but no nest available please get in touch. The most promising sites will be visited and a nestbox provided and fitted if all the necessary criteria are met. If you already have nesting Barn Owls then your birds can be included in the monitoring scheme with twice-yearly visits.”

For further information please contact cornishbarnowls@gmail.com or pick up a leaflet at Paradise Park in Hayle.

Photograph: Jasmine gives assistance to the bird ringer at a farm monitoring visit. Credit: Joanna Clegg

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