Barn Owls and the Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group ‘From barns to boxes’ Barn Owls are a beautiful and iconic part of the British countryside.
However, over the decades, their numbers have declined significantly. The Barn Owl Action Group (BOAG) was set up in Staffordshire in 2001 when it was estimated that there were only about 30 pairs of Barn Owls left in the county. The decline of the Barn Owl is due to changes in farming practices which have led to loss of suitable habitat, nesting and roosting sites. Barn Owls hunt over open, rough pasture where their prey of short-tailed voles is readily available.
They roost and nest in old hollow trees and in barns, many of which have been converted into housing. Pushed to their outer limits Barn Owls hunt along the verges of roads and dual carriageways and become regular victims of road kills. The Barn Owl is now a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and a BAP species of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
BOAG is run by a small group of volunteers within the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust whose aim is to encourage the conservation of the Barn Owl in the county. To date over 400 barn owl nest boxes have been installed in areas where Barn Owls are known to exist and a monitoring programme has been set up to determine their success. In successful sites other boxes will be installed to extend the territories of fledged Barn Owls.
In Derrington we are pleased to be working with BOAG to help conserve Barn Owls, an iconic symbol of the British Countryside. At the 2014 Local Food Festival Helen Cottam from BOAG attended Derrington’s Local Food Festival to share her great knowledge and passion for Barn Owls. Since then she has returned to advise on the installation of two Barn Owl nest boxes on the edge of the village – you may have spotted one on the Millennium Green. We are now eager to see who moves in!
For more details call Karen: 07854 911 929 or Roy: 07816 291201