Barn Owl Conservation and Breeding in the Howardian Hills AONB

With their heart shaped faces, caramel back and wings, and pure white underparts the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird. Yet this owl, that has proven so successful at adapting to life alongside humans, has undergone significant population decline.  One reason barn owl populations have struggled is that much of their traditional nesting habitat in hedgerow trees and traditional barns has been lost. Fortunately, barn owls will readily and successfully take to artificial nest boxes.

The Barn Owl Conservation and Breeding in the Howardian Hills project is being led by the Howardian Hills AONB, supported by experienced owl workers who will liaise with landowners, erect boxes at suitable locations, work on existing boxes and undertake nest box monitoring, owlet ringing and community engagement.  The project is funded through the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan.

This project aims to connect experienced barn owl workers with private, public and commercial landowners to create a monitored nest box network for barn owls and people at the landscape scale in the Howardian Hills.

The project will help to rebuild the regional barn owl population; improve understanding of barn owl population dynamics and breeding success; and create a platform for future monitoring of barn owls for conservation purposes.  It will help map the current and future distribution of barn owls and produce a clearer picture of overall barn owl breeding success.


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