Thanks to our wonderful supporters, we have achieved our target! Our stretched target means that we can do even more to raise awareness and support these lovely birds over the next year.
Don't let barn owls become a thing of the past - Help us give them the environment they need to thrive.
The story so far...
In 2016 we were devastated that no one took up residence in the barn owl box at Lorton Meadows nature reserve; echoing the concern nationally of falling barn owl populations.
A survey in the 1990s found there were only 4,000 pairs of these beautiful birds left in the UK – where once there were an estimated 12,000. Loss of habitat, low prey availability and a lack of suitable roosting sites have all contributed to the plight of the barn owl.
Amid a generally bleak outlook for barn owls, Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Lorton nature reserve suddenly provided a glimmer of hope.
In 2017, our barn owl pair, affectionately known as Bob and Brenda, took up residence at Lorton Meadows nature reserve, laying 8 eggs. From fuzzy chicks with crazy hairdos to strapping young fledglings ready to take on the world, we were delighted that 5 owlets hatched and fledged the nest. An amazing feat considering the national average is only 2.5!
However, without support the future of these stunning birds is far from certain and Dorset risks losing the sight of 'Ghost Owls' from the countryside.
We all have a responsibility to ensure that such an iconic species doesn't disappear!
With your help today; we will be working on improving feeding and breeding opportunities for Bob, Brenda and their descendants at Lorton Meadows nature reserve. Barn owls eat voles, field mice and shrews. These tiny mammals love to scamper round and feed in rough-tussocky grassland. Your donation will help us create and restore these habitats, so that there is a plentiful food supply for our barn owls.
This year, Dorset Wildlife Trust is pleased to see the barn owls return to the nest box, much to the delight of dedicated fans watching day and night. On a quiet evening you could even be lucky enough to see one of our barn owls in search of voles, mice and other small prey to bring back to the nest, or why not visit this link to see what Bob and Brenda are up to: www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/raptorcam
We are extremely grateful for the level of interest we have received for this project before we've even hit the 'go live' button on our appeal. We are offering a variety of rewards to put you at the heart of this project. They range from a wooden owl key ring, to a visit to our Lorton Meadows nature reserve, giving you the opportunity to see these special birds in their natural habitat.
How we use your donation:
We work hard to ensure that every penny is spent wisely on practical solutions to support barn owls in their natural habitat.
Over the next year we are planning to:
- Provide improved foraging habitat for barn owls to feed.
- Clear overgrown scrub in meadows closest to the barn where our barn owls live.
- Regularly monitor barn owl populations and work to create the right habitat for them.
- Deliver education days for young people through schools and local communities to understand the habitats this species and its prey need to survive.
- Hold volunteer conservation days to assist with habitat management.
- Manage hedgerows to provide essential food and shelter for wildlife.
- Erect fencing in to extend the area of grassland that is grazed, increasing the quality of the foraging available to barn owls.
Thank you from Bob & Brenda, on behalf of barn owls everywhere!
We'd like to thank Vicky Ashby for our amazing video and the late Stuart Canham and his family for kindly letting us use his photographs. And Paul Williams for the cover photo.
If you would like to know more about the work of Dorset Wildlife Trust please visit our web page: www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
If you have any questions about the project contact: firstname.lastname@example.org