The barn owl (Tyto alba) is a beautiful bird that thrives best in rough grassland which supports a high density of mammals (particularly field voles). Most foraging occurs within 1 km of a barn owl's nest however distances up to 4.5 km may be travelled to hunt. Barn owls are closely associated with man and may be found in farm buidings, church towers, a variety of derelict structures and hollowed trees. Barn owls do not build nests and so need a large cavity hole or wide ledge which is needed for roosting and breeding. Barn owls may breed all year round but most eggs are laid in April and May.
The loss of foraging and breeding habitat has become a problem for barn owls due to intensive farming methods and conversions of suitable buildings. Where there is potential for barn owls to affected by a proposed development either in buildings or trees, surveys are required to establish if barn owls are using the site and for what purpose. Even if barn owls are not present at the time of survey, indirect signs will provide evidnece of use. Such evidence may include:
Aether Ecology will provide detailed site surveys and technical reports that will support planning applications. These can be used for the mitigation and a protected species development licence if required. If you require a barn owl survey, contact us and we'll be happy to help.
CLIMB & INSPECT TREE SURVEYS
Climb & inspect aerial tree surveys are a very useful tool that can be undertaken throughout the year to survey trees. They allow otherwise inaccessible areas to be surveyed (see below) and can be scoped out with a single survey.
See the AERIAL TREE SURVEY page for more details.
MITIGATION & LICENSING
This section is currently under construction. Please contact us.
LAW & LEGISLATION
Barn owls are protected by law under Part 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and are listed on Schedule 1 which gives them special protection. It is an offence to:
Take, injure or kill a wild barn owl
Intentionally take, damage or destroy any wild barn owl nest whilst in use or being 'built'
Intentionally take or destroy a wild barn owl egg
Have in possession a wild barn owl (dead or alive) unless legally obtained
Intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild barn owl whilst 'building' a nest or near a nest containing eggs or young
Intentionally or recklessly disturb any dependant young of wild barn owls.