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Barn Owl Support Suffolk 

Building on an inspirational legacy

The Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project (SCBOP), founded in 2005, helped put up nearly 2,000 Barn Owl nest boxes throughout Suffolk, on nature reserves, farmland and on community spaces.  

It helped restore the number of Barn Owls to levels not seen since the 1930s. Today, coastal Suffolk has one of the highest Barn Owl populations in the UK. 

The success of SCBOP would not have been achieved without the energy and commitment of its Founder and former Director - Steve Piotrowski, and the hard work and dedication of a countywide network of expert volunteers in ringing and monitoring Barn Owls and supporting box owners.  

Why do we need BOSS ?

The Barn Owl Support Suffolk (BOSS) initiative was set up to preserve this proud legacy, as funding for SCBOP will shortly come to an end.

Suffolk’s Barn Owl population is largely hosted in man-made boxes that have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Given that SCBOP is almost twenty years old, a number of these boxes are deteriorating. 

In 2023, we were concerned about a marked increase in reports of Barn Owl breeding being affected by dilapidated boxes, boxes coming loose in high winds and of entrances being blocked by debris.

Since Barn Owls are largely site faithful and tend stay in their home range for their whole lives, nest site loss has a devastating impact on local populations, one which we would like to stop if at all possible. 

Another concern is the aging of the vital army of volunteers (many of whom are in their 80s), and their retirement due to age and physical health issues.  Without their crucial monitoring efforts and support to box owners the current Barn Owl population is at risk.

What does BOSS want to achieve ?

BOSS aims to provide continued support to Barn Owl box owners to repair, replace and install nest boxes, as well as help ensure the volunteer monitoring system is robust, so that we can preserve our Barn Owl population for generations to come. 

Here are a few things that we plan to do:

  • Raise awareness on issues of Barn Owl conservation and care, in particular the dangers of decrepit boxes, the importance of timely box cleaning and repair, and the legal aspects of monitoring Barn Owls.

  • Encourage the installation of new nest boxes in existing Barn Owl home ranges for fledglings to disperse to.

  • Create a database of local nest box makers, repairers and installers.

  • Share information on where to buy nest boxes as well as best options to locate them.

  • Help recruit new volunteer Barn Owl monitors where they are needed.  

  • Disseminate information on what to do to rescue young Barn Owls found out of the nest

How you can help
  • Call this number if you find an injured Barn Owl - Peter Merchant 07860 829060.  Peter is a Defra-registered Bird Rehabilitation Keeper and has been rescuing and releasing injured birds in Suffolk for almost 30 years.

  • Join us for a Barn Owl Event - keep an eye on the SBG Events page for talks and walks

  • Put up a Barn Owl box

  • Volunteer to make/ repair / install Barn Owl boxes

  • Become a volunteer Barn Owl Monitor

 

To get in touch or find out more please email barnowls@suffolkbirdgroup.org

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