In 1932 there were 240 pairs of barn owls in Cheshire and by 1985 there was just 35 pairs. This represents a decline in Cheshire of 85% against an average decline rate of 69%, one of the highest decline rates in England & Wales. That was bad but worse was to come and in 1999 only 10 breeding pairs were recorded in Cheshire.
The number of breeding pairs in 2000 was recorded as 19 and appeared to have been an increase over previous years but the truth is that by then recording was more accurate due to the increasing network of recorders such as barn owl groups like ours and increased public awareness. Therefore we tend to consider 2000 and 19 breeding pairs as the first date we can consider as being reasonably accurate.
Never the less the decline was dramatic and we aimed to reverse this decline and to do so we set out our aims and objectives.
- Aims and objectives
- To monitor and record the barn owl population, sightings, roosts and nest sights in order to help protect and preserve them within the Mid-Cheshire sudy area, contained generally within the bounds of the A49 to the west, the A34 to the east, the M56 to the north and Crewe to the south.
- To assess and record the barn owl breeding and feeding habits throughout the study area.
- To encourage the dispersal of juvenile barn owls within the study area by the enhancement of owl corridors and habitat.
- To conduct research into barn owl activities and dispersal in the study area.
- To increase the public awareness of the barn owl as an endangered and legally protected species and the need to conserve and improve it’s habitat in the area by way of talks and discussions with local organisations and displays at local countryside events throughout the County.
- To co-operate and liase with other national and local ornithological, the Cheshire Wildlife Trust and local authorities in the recording and improvement of habitats within the study area.
- To provide a forum for discussion and action for people willing to assist on the conservation of the barn owl in Mid Cheshire.
Group meetings are held on the last Thursday of most months at 7.30pm at Lower Moss Wood, contact us to confirm the dates. Periodic meetings are also held during the summer months including visits to reserves, various forms of field work and social events.
Members are encouraged to assist with field survey work, the placing of barn owl boxes in suitable locations, attendance at agricultural shows etc. with general advice and instruction being available for these activities. Members pay an annual membership fee as described in the membership application form.
It should be noted that a Confidentiality Protocol will be observed regarding certain barn owl information.