Research Introduction

Hawk and Owl Trust Research

Research is essential to scientific conservation, and it is therefore a vital plank of the Hawk and Owl Trust’s work

Continuing research by staff, volunteers, students and contractors, as well as partner organisations working on Trust reserves, includes:

  • Tagging and monitoring youg marsh harriers from Norfolk’s Wensum Valley to study their dispersal
  • Researching the possible reasons for the little owl’s decline
  • Continuing the annual UK Hen Harrier Winter Roost Survey
  • Monitoring and licensed ringing of young owls and diurnal birds of prey at nestboxes and natural sites around the UK
  • Recording invertebrate and breeding bird species, including marsh harrier and barn owl, at Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve
  • Surveying plants, birds and other animals on Fylingdales Moor annually as baseline information for the management plan
  • Recording species – particularly birds and invertebrates – on Shapwick Moor – as baseline information for comparison as the reserve is gradually restored from arable farmland to fen and rough grassland.
  • Monitoring tawny owls in Goblin Combe ancient woodland in North Somerset and analysing habitat, diet and territory against management regimes.
  • Surveying long-eared owls in South Wesy England to identify likely habitats and record breeding data as part of the joint Hawk and Owl Trust Community Owls Project and the Trust’s continuing campaign to raise awareness of this scarce bird, and to learn more about how it can be conserved
  • Through the Kestrel Highways project investigating whether lack of nesting sites is affecting the kestrel population size.

Past research includes:

  • Investigating where Britain’s over-wintering hen harriers come from
  • A joint barn owl survey (1995 – 1997) with the BTO, which found an estimated 4,000 breeding pairs in the UK (a similar finding to the Hawk and Owl Trust’s census in the mid 1980s, which revealed the dramatic drop of 70 per cent in the barn owl population since the 1930s).
  • Investigation into the peregrine’s increasing trend towards urban living and the nesting on manmade structures, supported by the Howard Victor Skan Charitable Trust with match funding from the Hawk and Owl Trust.
  • Study of road mortality among barn owls and recommendations to reduce the toll, carried out for the Highways Agency (1995 – 1998).
  • Monitoring water voles in North Somerset for Bristol Zoo Gardens’ release programme.

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