The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

Barn owls in Britain in decline.
March 31, 2007
Greg. Williams

2007-03-31 17:28:48 - BNP report that evironmentalists are concerned over a massive drop in UK barn owl numbers.

Concern is growing over the country's barn owl population as reports from across Britain consistently report a big drop in numbers.

So bad is the situation that some experts claim that there are barely 1,000 breeding pairs this year compared to around 4,000 last year! Equally worrying is the decline in numbers in areas where the birds were once regarded as relatively common - such as the north of England.

Some experts believe that the unusually hot and dry weather experienced this year and a drop in the availability of food, such as the vole, may be the reason for the massive drop.

One environmentalist, based in the traditionally wet Lake District and who has monitored barn owl populations over recent years, said: "In comparison to previous years numbers are definitely down. Talking to colleagues across the UK they are saying the same. It has been a very poor year. Sites that have traditionally done well have not been as successful. This year it is suspected that weather, and effects of global warming have affected the population. We had a lot of snow in the winter when the voles were starting to breed."

A BNP environmental spokesperson shares the view of other environmentalists that farming practices and a shortage of suitable habitats is partly to blame: "You can't blame it all on the weather, when clearly modern mass production farming techniques are having such a big negative impact on environments.- To which we can add that so many barns have been turned into houses without any view whatsoever as to where the barn owls will live - no wonder this has had a huge impact on barn owls and other animals. In addition the current mass house building program in Britain, largely to facilitate further migration from outside the UK, is destroying thousand of hectares of prime irreplaceable British countryside.

The British environmentalust, World Owl Trust, group continues to monitor the situation nationally and is working to improve habitats. They say they are hopeful that owl populations will recover.

The BNP environmentalist circle is determined that appropriate measures be adopted, including encouraging farmers and local authorities to create barn owl friendly envionments, including nesting sites, in old barns and other buildings, so as to promote the growth of barn owl populations in the UK.

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