Mid Cheshire Barn
Owl Conservation Group
 
Habitat needed
Habitat lost
Habitat maintenance
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Nest sites lost
Nest site maintenace
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Habitat maintenance
 
Barn Owls are birds of low-lying open farmland and the woodland edge. They will only attempt to breed if sufficient areas of rough ungrazed or lightly grazed tussocky grassland are present in the form of whole fields or field margins. The Barn Owl will normally feed within 1-2 km (0.6-1.2 miles) of the nest site requiring a minimum of 50 ha (120 acres) of rough grassland.
 
In regions where the grassy banks of rivers, canals, ditches, hedgerows, farm tracks and woodland edge provide the only suitable habitat, the Barn Owl will range up to 4 km (2.5 miles) or more. Grassland margins 6 metres (20ft) or more wide can be created easily by reducing the amount of cutting and spraying of non-selective herbicides beneath hedgerows, and by allowing rough grassland edges to regenerate along existing natural features of the farm, such as rivers, canals, ditches, hedgerows, farm tracks and woodland edge. The tussocky grass which eventually develops will require cutting, or grazing, once eveiy two or three years in the late autumn, to prevent the development of hard scrub.
 
Thick hedges and woodland plots provide cover for small mammals and other wildlife. The rough grassland which develops on the banks of drainage ditches is an important foraging habitat for the Barn Owl. When ditches need to be cleared, dredging and bank scraping should be limited to just one side of the ditch one year and the other side the next year. This form of rotational management allows these important habitats to remain intact.
All images Ian Philip Jones, no permission to use any of them is implied.