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Barn owl boxes are a breeding success

Over the last two years 11 barn owl boxes have been installed in trees and barns on Dorset Council farms. Now 25 per cent of Dorset Council farms have an owl box.

When the boxes were checked last month A total number of six chicks were found in four boxes.

Barn Owls have additional protection against disturbance while nesting. 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 license. The information gathered from putting these specially designed rings on birds’ legs means we can understand more 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.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, told KeeP 106: “Our tenant farmers are delighted to have breeding barn owls on their farms. It is important that we look after the natural environment and encourage biodiversity where we can.”

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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