Good news for local owls!
Welcome to our Who Gives a Hoot home page!
We will be updating it with news of the owl box project as it progresses. The good news is that we raised enough funds over the 2020 Christmas period to install 13 owl nest boxes – so the project is ready for take off!
Why owls need help
Barn owls are amazing creatures and we are very fortunate that they can be found around Steyning. However since the 1930s their numbers have reduced by 70% and to survive and thrive they need our help. These highly specialised birds have amazing eyesight and hearing and an almost silent flight as their light bodies are carried by soft feathers which pass gently through the air. The loss of habitat, old barns and dead trees which were traditional nesting sites, and the changes in our landscape which have led to food shortages through the loss of hedgerows and rough grasslands, have had an enormous impact. Barn owls are recognised as indicator species, where they flourish the biodiversity is healthy and a whole host of other species also flourish.
Our nest box plans
Greening Steyning are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Upper Adur Farmers Group, a network of local farmers who have suitable sites for owl nest boxes on their land. We have raised enough funds already to install thirteen owl boxes on farms along the Adur Valley, creating a network of new nesting sites.
Owl boxes need to quite big to accommodate a family of baby owls. We’re taking design advice from the Barn Owl Trust, and getting them made by local carpenter, Dan Carter, using durable, sustainably sourced timber provided at a special price by Gardner and Scardifield (a big thanks to both for their help on this project!).
Here’s a picture of the first seven boxes off of Dan’s production line – as in his shed! The were picked up in early February by Ivan de Klee, from the Knepp Estate, who’s coordinator of the Upper Adur Farmers Group. He’ll is now working with local farmers and experts from the Sussex Barn Owl Study Group to identify the best sites to put them up, and getting cracking as soon as the Covid situation allows.
Where to spot owls
If you’d like to see a barn owl in the meantime, take a walk up the River Adur from Upper Beeding to Bines Bridge at twilight, or in the early hours as dawn breaks across the Downs, and you might be lucky enough to spot one hunting silently along the river. If you spot one please record it at the online Barn Owl Survey