Tens of thousands of viewers took great pleasure in watching the two resident barn owls nesting and raising their chicks last year, via webcam and from the comfort of their own homes, courtesy of Dorset Wildlife Trust.
The pair that was followed in 2020 roosted in the box throughout the entire winter, indicating that they felt at home and had a good source of food from the surrounding Lorton Meadows nature reserve. This year, you can witness first-hand their intriguing behaviours, including preening, mating and eating, and hear their characteristic chittering, screeching or hissing, all live via the webcam. As breeding season is now upon us, it is hoped viewers will soon see eggs, and the special first moments of a chick’s life. Webcam followers can comment on the dedicated web page to share what they’ve seen and help build a picture of how the pair are getting on.
You can also adopt a ban owl through Dorset Wildlife Trust’s new adoption scheme. For £15, you will receive a certificate of adoption and a sheet of barn owl facts, and help protect these majestic, but declining birds in Dorset.
The proceeds will help ensure barn owls across the county continue to benefit from good quality habitat, through Dorset Wildlife Trust’s conservation work on nature reserves and engagement with the local community and farmers. Barn owls hunt rodents such as voles, shrews and mice in rough grassland, but much of this habitat has been lost due to increased pressures on the countryside from development and food production, contributing to their widespread decline.
Dorset Wildlife Trust’s landowner liaison officer Emily Newton, said, “It’s always a special moment when you see a barn owl; it feels like you are really sharing a moment with nature. We are so lucky to be able to view this pair in their nest and will hopefully get to watch their young develop and leave the nest.
“This year and last, many people have turned to nature for some solace and respite from the stressful circumstances we are living in, and Dorset Wildlife Trust are grateful to be able to share these barn owls with the viewers.
“Breeding success for barns owls is dependent on having good plentiful supplies of food to rear their young and grassland fields like the ones at Lorton Meadows are perfect for this, as are some of the rougher grassland sites along the coast and on farmland where farmers specifically manage grass margins in their fields to increase numbers of small mammals.”
The webcam has been sponsored by Dorset-based independent financial advisers PFM Associates. To watch the barn owls live now, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlifewebcam.
To adopt a barn owl for £15 and help protect these wonderful creatures in the future, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/shop.
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