Barn Owl Training – What a Hoot!



Last week REC’s ecology consultants, James and Sarah, completed the Barn Owl Ecology and Survey Signs (BOESS) and Advanced Barn Owl Surveying and Mitigation (ABOSM) training courses in Devon.

With a heart-shaped face, buff back and wings, and pure white underparts, the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved bird. They are legally protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act making it a criminal offence to disturb or harm them or their nesting sites. They are also listed on the RSPB’s Amber List so are considered more at risk from development-related population decline.

Fortunately, only scoping surveys are required to determine the presence or absence of barn owls and these can be done at any time of the year. Even if Barn Owls aren’t present at a roost or nest site, it’s often easy to tell if they’ve been there. Signs of occupation to look out for include:

  • Pellets.
  • Droppings(faeces).
  • Nest and roost debris.
  • Feathers.
  • Dead adults.
  • Dead owlets.
  • Food begging calls.
  • Smell.
  • Small mammal remains.

‘It was a real privilege having just joined REC from graduating to be put on a training course like this’ said Sarah. ‘It’s not often we come across owls when we’re helping clients consider their development proposals but it’s essential we know how to accurately survey for them’ said James.

If you would like to know more about the ecology surveys and support provided by REC or have any specific ecology queries then get in touch.