Category Archives: News About The Trust

Our South West Projects team launch new three year campaign

About the New Community Owls Project

COP - Giving box to farmer
Giving a barn owl nesting box to a Somerset farmer.

Somerset holds one of the last 3 remaining strongholds for barn owls in the UK, and young birds produced from this population are vital for sustaining surrounding populations and repopulating new areas in other counties.

Around 75% of Britain’s barn owls now nest in man-made nest boxes, so these have become a crucial tool in our conservation efforts. Landowners are given free nest boxes when they agree to maintain suitable prey-rich hunting habitats for barn owls, which of course benefit a huge range of other wildlife, from brown hares to kestrels and butterflies to skylarks. Depending on the size and type of farm, this is usually in the form of field margins which are cut or grazed in rotation to maintain a healthy small mammal population.

Since November 2011 we have put up more than 350 new barn owl nest boxes in Somerset; with at least one in every one of Somerset’s 331 parishes. We have also provided an extensive programme of educational visits, walks, talks, nest box-building workshops and volunteer training. This project was funded by Viridor through the Landfill Tax Credits Scheme, and was in partnership with the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

Now that the Somerset Community Barn Owl Project has finished the Hawk and Owl Trust have launched a new scheme to build on what has already been achieved. On 17th January 2015 we will officially launch the New Community Owls Project.

We aim to monitor and maintain the boxes we have already installed. This would enable us to gain real knowledge about Somerset’s hugely important barn owl population, and also to ensure ongoing maintenance of the boxes (cleaning and repair) and monitoring of the hunting habitat as well as providing ongoing support and advice for the farmers. We also plan to continue putting up around 100 more nesting boxes each year.

We have created the foundations of the biggest barn owl conservation project ever undertaken in Somerset, and now have the opportunity to build on this and to build on our knowledge of this population which will help us and others to focus future conservation efforts. The barn owl is an iconic symbol of the countryside and one which, although currently threatened, responds well to human conservation efforts.

The New Community Owls Project will focus on Barn Owls, but will also aim to conserve Little Owls, Tawny Owls and Kestrels, by providing nesting boxes and creating suitable prey-rich hunting habitat for these species as well.

For more information, to enquire about obtaining a nesting box for your land, or to find out about our exciting school visits, please contact the Hawk and Owl Trust’s South West Conservation Officer, Chris Sperring.

The Hawk and Owl Trust Position in the Hen Harrier Debate

In response to various blog posts and resulting comments on the Mark Avery Blog site Philip Merricks, Chairman Hawk and Owl Trust 20 Jan 2015 ‘You will be aware that the RSPB formally announced last year that, although they supported a Hen Harrier brood management scheme in principle, they would not support it in practice…Continue Reading

New post – seasonal peregrine project officer

Norwich Cathedral Peregrines Watch Point Project Officer We need an enthusiastic, friendly and organised person with a good working knowledge of Peregrines and birds of prey although background information will be given. You must be able to manage a large team of volunteers of all ages and abilities. Full time: 18-week contract from March 16…Continue Reading

Congratulations to our Lucky Christmas Raffle Winners!

We are delighted to announce the following winners of the Hawk and Owl Trust 2014 Christmas Raffle. These lucky ladies will be receiving their cheques by Christmas! It is obviously very lucky to be an Adopt a Box member! Thanks to everyone who bought tickets – your generosity really does help us in our work…Continue Reading

2014 Members Weekend and AGM

This year’s Members Weekend was hosted by the Fylingdales Moor team on the 4th and 5th of October and was held at the Sneaton Castle Centre in Whitby.  This is adjacent to St. Hilda’s Priory, the Mother House of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, an Anglican religious community. After Registration and coffee Members and…Continue Reading