Welcome to the British Owl Project

Welcome to the British Owl Project and we hope you enjoy browsing our website – we would love to have your feedback and things you would like to see included.

We have had an amazing start to 2021 so where to start:

By way of a very quick “catch up” – we are delighted to be working with:

HUGS – Hagbournes and Upton Group for Sustainability – we are undertaking the “Owl Work” for this dynamic group which grew out to the first “Lock Down”.  With funding already in place we are halfway through our surveys with the installation of both Little Owl boxes and Tawny Owl boxes underway, Barn Owl box surveys and installations to follow.

We have had a great response from members of the community with Owl reports both what they have seen and what they have heard, so we have already been able to build a picture of potential home ranges.

Wild Wantage – We are working with Mark Bradfield and Wild Wantage which is part of Sustainable Wantage.  We have been out surveying and have both Little Owl boxes and Barn boxes under the project with more in the pipeline.

Lu is a Group Leader for The West Berkshire Conservation Society Barn Owl Group with the Landowner wishing to expand the Barn Owl box network but also now include Tawny Owl boxes.

Feathers and Fur Falconry Centre – our great friends at Feathers and Fur have just moved site and are opening soon.  We have worked with them undertaking conservation work for several years now and we are very excited to be continuing and increasing the amount of work we do with them from here on in, both in the field and at their amazing new site at Moss End Garden Village. 

We are also about to start working with three more new landowners in South Oxfordshire during the Summer.

The 2021 Season has begun – although the weather hasn’t been kind the Tawny Owl chicks are already out and branching with reports of several on the ground, probably a bit windblown.  Ringing of Tawny Owls is well underway with lots of positive reports coming in from existing nest sites from our BOP Friends around the Country.

Please Note – although Tawny chicks look like cute little fluff balls, however, they are in fact resilient little guys with a whole arsenal of survival attributes backed up by very protective parents.

If you find one on the ground or exposed, please DO NOT pick it up and remove it just find the nearest tree or piece of scrub or bush and put up off the ground.  These guys have very strong feet, sharp talons, and hooked beaks which with their long legs means they can really climb and move large distances.  They also make a lot of noise when on their own so mum and dad will find them and feed them.

The Little Owls chicks should also be out and about with parents calling and trying to keep them together.

The Long-Eared chicks should also be branching from about now and this is a great time to listen out for these very illusive owls, with the strident juvenile’s call sounding like a rusty gate.

We won’t know about the Barn Owls until we start surveying during June.  Barn Owls are very sensitive to disturbance when laying and sitting, so we always give the Barn Owls longer before visiting their sites.  Once the first chick has hatched then mum and dad will stay, but if the nest site is disturbed at the egg stage, there is a much higher likelihood of abandonment.   

We will be reporting back about the Barn Owls during next month.

Great Time to hear the Juveniles – like all juvenile birds, owlets are very noisy, calling for food from their very hardworking parents.  This makes this time of year, and continuing for the next few weeks, a great time to listen out for the chicks calling.

For more information about what to listen for, why not visit our Owl Pages where we have uploaded juvenile calls for each breed for you to listen to.

What could be better than a lovely Summer evening walk listening for these amazing birds.

Don’t forget to make a note of what hear and where and then let us know on our Owl Sightings Data Form.

We would love to hear from you – if you have any Owl News, stories, or questions, please do get in touch.