Barn Owl Conservation
Barn owls are very close to our hearts in Wildlife Management Services. This much loved farmland bird is a species that is currently under threat due to loss of habitat, roosting sites and nesting sites. Other contributing factors are the increase in man-made hazards such as roads as well as widespread accidental poisoning by powerful pest control poisons. With so many hurdles to cross it seems that the Barn Owl population is finding it hard to recover.
Tree cavities, barns, farmyard buildings, derelict churches and castles etc. provide the majority of nesting sites for barn owls. The loss of these structures through disuse, decay, demolition and conversion has resulted in the loss of nesting opportunities for this species. Despite the shortage of suitable natural nesting sites, Barn Owls respond well to the provision of artificial nesting boxes in suitable locations. Increasing Barn Owl’s food supply is also extremely important and the creation of prey rich habitat can often be achieved with minimal effort. The provision of rough grass areas provides an ideal habitat for small mammals such as Shrews, Voles and Wood Mice, that account for the majority of a Barn Owl’s diet. Managing hedgerows and field divisions in agricultural settings can increase bio diversity with minimal impact to profit or production.
Recently Wildlife Management Services have devised and implemented a Barn Owl conservation action plan in one of the country’s most popular and prestigious Stud Farms. Stud farms in general are natural nature reserves due to their design and the nature of their business but The Irish National Stud takes this a step further. The grounds of the Stud and St. Fiachra’s gardens are home to a vast array of birds and mammals. The project here is a proactive step taken by the management of the Irish National Stud to complement their already existent natural habitats and also their commitment to education and the promotion of Ireland’s natural wildlife. Together we worked on this project to entice Barn Owls into their grounds. Specially designed Barn Owl nesting boxes were erected in chosen areas around the grounds. As with all nature only time will tell if birds will nest here, one thing is certain though without a helping hand barn owls are really up against it in modern Ireland. We aim to increase an awareness and interest in this dwindling species, if you want any further information or wish to commence a conservation project please do not hesitate to contact us.