Barn Owl Action Group
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. Barn Owls 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 90 Barn Owl boxes have been installed in areas where Barn Owls are known to exist. BOAG is currently setting up a monitoring programme of its boxes to determine their success. In successful sites other boxes will be installed to extend the territories of fledged Barn Owls.
BOAG relies on the public to contact the Wildlife Trust with any sightings of Barn Owls. These sightings are recorded and the data is important in establishing the Barn Owl population in Staffordshire. Records of Barn Owls are important for planning purposes to establish whether there may be Barn Owls in or near a barn that has a planning application for conversion. As the Barn Owl is protected it is an offence to disturb it during the nesting season and provisions such as installing a box can be made to provide an alternative nesting site. BOAG is also interested in records of dead Barn Owls whether from road kills, poisoning, drowning in water troughs or from starvation. These records help to build up a picture of how Barn Owls are doing in the county.
Printing of this publication for educational purposes is permitted, provided that copies are not made or distributed for commercial gain, and the title of the publication and its date appear. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission from the Author or Staffordshire Ecological Record.
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|Operated by: Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council|