Who Gives a Hoot? Sponsor an owl box

Environment & Biodiversity, News

Joshua J Cotten F66e2vdboay Unsplash

Good news for local owls!

Bob Brewer Dohcyud44t4 UnsplashWelcome 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, we’ve built the boxes, and the first batch are already in place!

 

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. 

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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!).

The picture shows the first seven boxes off Dan’s production line.  The second batch were completed this summer and were picked up by Ivan de Klee, from the Knepp Estate, in their rather wonderful customised safari vehicle!

img 8201 The second batch on their way

 

Ivan is the coordinator of the Upper Adur Farmers Group.  Now that lockdown is over, he’s now working with local farmers and experts from the Sussex Barn Owl Study Group to identify the best sites to put them up.  The first batch are already in place, with the rest due to be installed by the end of 2021.

installed collage Some of the owl boxes in situ

 

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

 
Andy Chilton Ziceedwwh0o Unsplash
 
Owl photos from Unsplash.com courtesy of Andy Chilton, Dave Lowe, Bob Brewer, Jonathan Ridley, and Joshua Cotton.