Help barn owls move to the west

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LAND owners are being asked to help barn owls move back into West Suffolk.

Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project, a partnership between Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Ornithologists Group, says 2011 was a record year in the county for the pale hunters, but they do better in the east than the west.

So the project pledge for 2012 is to try to improve habitat and nesting opportunities for barn owls in West Suffolk.

Project coordinator Oka Last said: “We rely on people who are interested in helping barn owls, whether it’s a community group or a farmer who wants to help them on his land. We can offer advice and support and, if the land is suitable, a nestbox can be installed.”

Barn owls need rough grass areas to hunt over, though they also hunt over reed beds and farmland. The group can provide nestboxes or instructions for making them – and you do not even need a barn.

Oka said: “In Suffolk, barn owls buck the national trend with the majority using natural nest sites. In Suffolk, about 60 per cent choose holes in trees.”

Getting the large nestboxes barn owls need up trees is not easy, so the project can help with a trained tree surgeon who can do the job for £100.

For more details, follow the barn owl project link at www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/species-and-habitats. Land owners can contact Oka Last on 01473 890089