Friday, 18 February 2011

New detached house for feathered tenants

Barn owls at our newest nature reserve on the Lizard have their own purpose built abode, thanks to help from a band of dedicated volunteers. Matt Birchett has been watching the owls at Grochall since he was a kid, and that interest sparked at a young age has grown into dedicating his spare time to help their cause locally. Matt monitors many owl nests on the Lizard, and the site in an old tin barn at Grochall has been one of the most successful.

The brand new owl barn
However, when the National Trust bought the small holding of Grochall in 2009, we knew the owls would need a helping hand, as the barn they have nested in for decades was close to collapse. Rapid action was needed to prevent these majestic hunters from becoming homeless. Time to unveil barn owl barn mark 2! This purpose built simple structure has been constructed within the shelter of the ruins of the old homestead, reusing some of the roofing materials from the adjacent first barn. 

Matt adding the finishing touches to the nest box

Matt, who has a licence to work with this protected species, has advised us on owl friendly design, and this week he has installed the new barn owl nest box, made from a packing case. Local volunteers John, David and Kathryn have also added their expertise, designing panelling to reduce draughts and a door so the owls aren't accidentally disturbed. We hope the owls appreciate their new home. We found a pellet of regurgitated bones and fur in the new shed even before the box was fitted, meaning an owl had been resting up in there, so we are confident they'll soon feel at home!

Thanks to Matt, David, Kathryn and John for their work on this project.



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