Wokingham-born barn owls take flight for the first time

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Barn owls born and bred as part of a Wokingham conservation project are about to have an absolute hoot on their first-ever flight, according to a survey of the barn owl boxes.

Wokingham Borough Council’s barn owl conservation project installed more than 20 barn owl boxes on telegraph poles and trees to help the rare birds thrive with somewhere to nest and good local hunting grounds.

At least 11 owls are expected to wing it and leave their nests any day now.

More than 250 barn owl chicks have been born in the borough since the project started in 2002, and the study also revealed parents may be trying for a second brood later this year.

Wokingham Borough Council’s executive member for environment and leisure Cllr Parry Batth said: “The council long-running barn owl conservation project helps ensure we are doing everything we can to keep this beautiful species thriving in the Wokingham borough.”

He said it was the combined work of the council officers and volunteers which keeps the boxes in good condition, encouraging barn owls to nest there.

They attempt to avoid disturbing the birds while counting the eggs, chicks and stockpiled prey.

barn owls wokingham

“As a rural area with lots of countryside, we do all we can to boost biodiversity and provide areas where all types of wildlife can live happily.”

The council works with the Barn Owl Conservation Network and the British Trust of Ornithologists to watch over the birds.

The boxes are sometimes occupied by kestrels, and their population numbers also indicate the overall health of the countryside.

To join the project as a volunteer, email countryside@wokingham.gov.uk.

If you would prefer to work on the barn owl box checks with the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, email stuart.croft@hants.gov.uk.

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