Local walkers and wildlife fans alike…

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… are invited to the Local Barn Owl Synergy Symposium on Saturday 29th March 2008. But places are limited!

To book, please contact
Pang, Kennet and Lambourn Valleys Countryside Project FWAG
Tel: 0118 930 5336    email: pang.kennet@fwag.org.uk

To promote owl conservation the Pang, Kennet and Lambourn Valleys Countryside Project FWAG have already held local workshops for the Barn Owl volunteer teams in its three valleys. The final symposium looks beyond those valleys to neighbouring areas.

Barn Owl perched in an oak treeSo the Barn Owl Synergy Symposium is relevant to anybody who spends time in the local countryside – in fact the whole of the North Wessex Downs AONB – because you could help Barn Owls along the way.

Jason Ball, who volunteers with the Lambourn Valley Barn Owl Group, explains, “We want to bring together people and groups who might not usually think about Barn Owl conservation, but who might be able to work together.”

“For instance, Butterfly Conservation volunteers often monitor sites with rough grass and they could be helping the Barn Owl where they find Marbled White and Gatekeeper. Or we could work with ramblers, anglers, and of course Water Vole officers in the Wildlife Trusts who work to conserve the same habitat that we need to see for the Barn Owl.”

The local symposium is happening here at the Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre running from 2pm – 5pm to maximise our chances of seeing a Barn Owl when we finish. (The national perspective will be covered this autumn at the UK Barn Owl Symposium.)

Previous local workshops

Farmers and volunteers from the three valleys came along to the recent workshops at Chieveley and Bucklebury on 1st and 5th March. Both resulted in new leads for the volunteers to help Barn Owls on local estates, and both times we saw a wild Barn Owl during the field visits!

Volunteers and experts have learned from each other over the years, and are now quite successful with choosing good locations for Barn Owl nest boxes. Monitoring nest sites – under licence of course – has brought together sets of results which help to understand where conservation efforts are working best.

Records are very important for steering conservation work, and so each event has promoted the submission of data to the Thames Valley Environment Records Centre (TVERC) as well as the national licensing bodies. TVERC has stated that all new Barn Owl records will be protected so that they can only be seen as accurately as 10km. So people searching the TVERC archives will not be able to find the exact locations where this legally protected bird nests.

John Dellow gave an excellent presentation about record-keeping. The figures gathered by the Pang valley Barn Owl team had all added up over the years to something very useful indeed. Averaged numbers made clear which breeding pairs were doing best, at which nest sites. (All kept confidential of course.) High productivity is what we hope to see, because that means we are making a positive contribution to the local (and therefore national) population of Barn Owl, which underwent a decline of nearly 70% during the latter half of the 20th Century. Every fledged owlet counts!

For some areas it has taken a long time to see good results, but we can see an increase in Barn Owls around here, year by year. Let’s keep it going that way. We hope you can join us on the 29th. If not, come along to a task day with your nearest Barn Owl group.

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One Response to “Local walkers and wildlife fans alike…”

  1. Andyed Says:

    thats it, guy

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