Owls Nesting At Hanbury Grange


Owl nesting boxes at the Duchy of Lancaster’s Hanbury Grange property in Staffordshire have proved popular again this year, with chicks close to fledgling discovered on site earlier this month.

This is the third consecutive year that chicks have been hatched in one of the five nesting boxes installed by the Duchy in 2008, providing encouraging signs that brood numbers are improving.

The Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group who monitor over 400 nest boxes across the UK, including those at Hanbury Grange, are delighted to see more of the boxes being used. “These beautiful birds just cannot survive without our help,” says Helen Cottam. “Numbers have been declining over recent years and yet it requires little effort on the part of farmers and landowners to provide these safe havens and help to protect these beautiful birds and encourage them to nest.“

Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow agrees: “One of the Duchy’s key roles is to respect and preserve the natural landscape. This year, we are working with Natural England and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust to audit all of our rural land holdings so that we can properly understand the nature and quantum of species that live there. This in turn will help us to protect and preserve these habitats for generations to come.”

This year, it appears that the most popular of the boxes has been the one furthest away from the barn. This is a change from previous years and may be due to increased activity on the farm over the last 12 months.

The conservation of barn owls is helped by the protection of habitats such as rough grassland rich in small mammals, together with nest boxes to help maximise opportunities for roosting, nesting and the nurturing of young chicks.