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| YOU ARE VIEWING ARTICLE - ID:20140511023 |
|Title:||Seen a barn owl recently?|
|Author:||Yorkshire Wildlife Trust |
|ID & Publication:||20140511023 ~ The-Villager.co.uk |
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is asking people to record their sightings and help shape efforts to save the county’s barn owls
Last year went on record as one of the worst years ever for barn owls. But, with the warm spring weather and the support of hundreds of people, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has renewed hope for the long term survival of the native barn owl. As part of a recent appeal to help this native bird, the Trust has launched a brand new website to gather sightings of barn owls across Yorkshire. Members of the public who have seen barn owls are encouraged to visit barnowls.ywt.org.uk and use the simple mapping tool to record where and when they made their sighting. By creating this database of sightings in Yorkshire the charity will be able to identify areas of where increased conservation effort will help make a difference to the long term survival of this iconic bird.
Although once a common sight, barn owl numbers have decreased rapidly over the last 30 years due to habitat loss and bad winters. The winter of 2013 was a particularly devastating time for barn owls and the prolonged cold saw a 280% rise in the numbers of dead barn owls reported to the British Ornithology Trust (BTO). It is now estimated that there could be as few as 1,000 breeding pairs across the UK. The Trust responded to this decline by launching an appeal earlier this year to create and improve barn owl habitats on nature reserves across Yorkshire to help increase barn owl numbers. As a result of this appeal, the Trust has started to put up nest boxes on nature reserves across Yorkshire and work has started to create areas of new grassland feeding habitat. The new sightings website will be used by the Trust’s conservation staff to target areas for further grassland work and nest box installation over the forthcoming year. The results will also help the Trust to give advice to those landowners and farmers who are already managing their land sympathetically for wildlife and are looking to help barn owls even further.
Rob Stoneman, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust explains that; ‘Since launching this appeal we have had a large number of responses from the public, landowners and farmers who are keen to help barn owls. We wanted to create a simple and accurate way for people to share their barn owl sightings with us, and this new website really does that. This new website is straightforward to use and will help us better collate the sightings to enable targeted efforts in areas where barn owls need it most. We are extremely grateful to our counterparts at Suffolk Wildlife Trust who allowed us to modify their extremely successful sightings website, and to those generous individuals who have enabled us to launch the website, purchase nest boxes and start grassland restoration work.’’
If you would like to help the ongoing work of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to save Yorkshire’s barn owls then you can set up a secure monthly donation of just £4 per month by visiting www.ywt.org.uk/barnowl
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