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Staffordshire Wildlife Trust barn owl appeal

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 06, 2014

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THE county's leading nature conservation charity is appealing for sightings of barn owls as numbers of the species reach an all time record low.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is encouraging members of the public to send in sightings of the bird from across the county.

Figures from The Barn Owl Trust suggest that there are currently less barn owls in Britain than at any other time since farming became widespread roughly 1,000 years ago.

Scott Petrek, monitoring officer at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: "The barn owl has seen a dramatic decline in numbers over the last century following changes in farming practices, with the prolonged cold weather we had this time last year having a further negative impact on numbers within the county.

"An increase in the number of sightings will help us to build an up-to-date picture of barn owl distribution across Staffordshire, and locate areas of most significant decline."

Figures were reflected by Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group (BOAG) who reported a just 15 pairs using their nest boxes in 2013, down from 54 pairs the previous year.

The most familiar British owl, barn owls will often hunt during the daytime over fields and grasslands looking for small mammals to feed on.

Breeding in hollow trees, barn owls do not hoot in any way, instead making shrieking noises.

For details of sending in sightings visit www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk.

For more information contact Staffordshire Wildlife Trust on 01889 880100.

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