Barn Owl Conservation Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for Ecologists, Surveyors, Land Managers and Ornithologists
A comprehensive handbook covering all aspects of the conservation of Barn Owls. Written by the Barn Owl Trust, this book includes in-depth information on Barn Owl survey techniques, relevant ecology, Barn Owls and the law, mortality, habitat management, use of nest boxes and barn Owl rehabilitation. Essential reading for ecologists, planners, land managers and ornithologists.
"Packed with well-researched information and drawing on over two decades of first-hand experience, the Barn Owl Trust's book looks set to become the definitive reference for those with an interest in Barn Owls, their ecology and conservation. Like the Trust, this book is upbeat and practical, delivering an optimistic approach to Barn Owl conservation that is accessible to readers from a wealth of backgrounds."
- Mike Toms (BTO), coordinator of the national Barn Owl survey; Project Barn Owl
"The Barn Owl Trust has an excellent reputation for providing high-quality advice about this species, and their website is full of leaflets and information notes covering a wide range of subjects. This book brings together all that advice and guidance in one place, providing an invaluable resource for anyone involved in barn owl Tyto alba conservation. The book covers everything from legal and planning aspects, habitat management, nestbox design and installation, through to measures to reduce mortality from threats such as rodenticide poisoning and major roads. The text is balanced and well organised with a handy summary of key points at the start of each chapter, and excellent use is made of photographs and drawings throughout. The level of detail included is impressive and it is clear that the authors have gone to some lengths to try to make the guide as comprehensive as possible. There is even a series of plates to help determine how long a barn owl corpse may have lain undisturbed at an indoor roost site, culminating at an impressive 17 years after death, all recorded for posterity by the same photographer. This information could be useful to planners in helping to determine whether or not a site has been recently occupied by barn owls.
While the book will appeal mainly to professionals and volunteers closely involved with this species, there is also much information that is relevant to birders more generally. Armed with the information in the book, anyone who has contact with farmers or landowners can help to spread the word about barn owl-friendly farming. And the book covers situations that almost any birder could encounter, such as stumbling across a nestling barn owl out of its nest-site. The usual advice, including for the tawny owl Strix aluco, is to leave well alone but it does not apply in this case! The book also tackles a number of issues that will be of wider interest than just to barn owl devotees. To give one example: many of us put food out for garden birds every day but is it acceptable to provide food for wild barn owls in order to try to boost survival rates?
A handbook of 395 pages might seem rather a lot to devote to just one species, albeit one of our most popular and iconic birds. Wildlife on farmland has fared badly in recent decades and a whole range of once familiar species are struggling and in need of assistance. However, as the authors point out, focusing conservation efforts on popular, high-profile species, particularly those towards the top of the food chain, can encourage measures that will ultimately benefit a wide range of other wildlife. If a farm has plenty of old trees for barn owls to nest in, rough grassland full of small mammals to feed on, and if poisons are used carefully to avoid accidental poisoning, then it will be a good place for a wide range of wildlife. This volume is the definitive guide for those involved in barn owl conservation but will hopefully help to achieve a great deal more besides."
- Ian Carter, www.britishbirds.co.uk, 15-10-2012
"Covering everything from nestboxes to land surveys and planning issues, this comprehensive handbook is a vital reference for anyone involved in the conservation of this, one of our most cherished birds."
- Steve Gantlett, Birding World 25(11), December 2012
3. Legal issues
The Barn Owl Trust is a registered charity based in the southwest of England. Its main areas of work are practical conservation, education, research and the provison of information. The Trust is the main source of Barn Owl information in Britain dealing with over 5,000 conservation enquiries a year. The advice the Trust provides is based on 26 years of first-hand experience in practical and advisory conservation work on farms, over 20 years of research and educational work, plus 10 years first-hand experience in habitat creation and management on the Trusts own land.
County-wide Barn Owl Surveys, owl ringing, research into the effects of barn conversions and major road mortality and investigations into foraging behaviour and post-fledging dispersal using radio-tracking, the erection of over 1,500 nestboxes and the training of ecological consultants are all part of the broad base of experience. The Barn Owl Trust recently produced Natural England’s standing advice on Barn Owls and Rural Planning and is currently in consultation with the Highways Agency regarding the mitigation of road mortality. Since its foundation in 1988, the Barn Owl Trust has established an excellent reputation amongst conservation organisations. Despite being consulted by government and recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours List, the Barn Owl Trust is still a grass-roots organisation carrying out a huge amount of practical conservation work.
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