Barn Owl Success

Hanbury Grange Barn Owl Nesting Box 1 Hanbury Grange Barn Owl Nesting Box 2

Barn owl chicks have been found nesting at the Duchy’s Hanbury Grange property in Staffordshire for the second consecutive year. Two new chicks were discovered in the box two weeks ago by the Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group, an organisation affiliated to the Wildlife Trust and who monitor more than 400 nest boxes across the county.

The discovery is particularly encouraging given the levels of breeding among barn owls this year and a consequent drop in brood numbers.

Commenting on the news, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “It is so important that we all play our part to help preserve appropriate habitats for these magnificent birds. As a responsible landowner, the Duchy is more than happy to put up nesting boxes in key areas and to encourage others to do the same. We know that the barn owl has declined dramatically in number here in Britain over the last century or so and a simple thing like a nesting box can make a significant difference.”

Helen Cottam from Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group agrees: “We are grateful to landowners and farmers who are prepared to support us in our efforts to help monitor barn owl numbers through the installation of nest boxes across Staffordshire. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort and it can really help. Barn owls have been decline over the last 70 years due to changes in farming practices, especially the loss of traditional hay meadows. In more recent years, unseasonal weather and prolonged cold winters have had a negative impact on barn owl numbers. We encourage landowners to provide nest boxes where farmland provides good barn owl habitat”.

The Duchy installed five nesting boxes at Hanbury Grange back in 2008. However, this particular box has proved a clear winner, with last year’s young chicks also found sharing the very same nest!

For further information on the Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group, please visit the website: http://staffordshirebarnowlactiongroup.weebly.com.