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Barn Owl

Wild Bird Surveys

Woodpecker holes

All birds, their nests and eggs receive basic protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended). Certain rare species (Schedule 1 birds) receive additional protection from disturbance while breeding. Phlorum can carry out wintering and breeding bird surveys, as well as vantage point surveys. From these surveys we will devise suitable mitigation strategies for a range of projects, including offering watching briefs and toolbox talks to teach site staff what to do.

Breeding Surveys

Blackbird nest in knotweed

As all wild bird nests are protected, with the nests of some species receiving additional protection, it is commonly the case that surveys are needed to identify and mitigate potential impacts on birds from development works.

The range of bird surveys can include: breeding bird surveys; wintering bird surveys; vantage point surveys; or nesting bird surveys/checks. Specialist surveys for particular species of bird, such as skylark or birds of prey, can also be carried out.

Breeding bird, wintering bird and vantage point surveys often require a number of survey visits over several months.

Barn Owl

Barn owls (Tyto alba) were very common in the British countryside but their numbers have significantly declined as a result of loss of nesting sites, loss of hunting grounds and an increase in man-made hazards.

Barn owl

Barn owls are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which protects the birds and their young. It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb them. As a result they are protected from being killed, injured or taken, and their nests and eggs are protected from being taken, damaged or destroyed. The buildings or trees they nest in are also protected. The typical life span of a barn owl is 4 years in the wild.

Barn owls mainly hunt small mammals over rough grassland. They eat their prey whole but regurgitate the bones and feathers. As a result, barn owl pellets, which are about the size of a thumb, can be used to identify their presence in an area. They generally hunt at dusk or dawn, relying primarily on sounds to locate their prey, but they also have very good eyesight.

You need a licence to approach or view the contents for a barn owl nest.

Barn owl surveys can involve the following:

  • Desk study (review records of barn owls in the area);
  • On site scoping survey (looking for signs such as pellets, feathers, droppings, nest debris, and the owls themselves); and
  • Nest site verification survey (this requires a disturbance licence).

Our ecologists at Phlorum can assist with any issues you might have that might require surveys, assessment and/or mitigation measures to avoid harm begin caused to birds or their habitat.

Contact us for advice if you are concerned about an issue that might require further investigation. We are happy to have a free, no obligation chat to see how we can help.

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