Owls in the Fellfoot Forward area

Owls in the Fellfoot area by John Miles

Fellfoot Forward volunteer, John Miles, shared his experience of working with owls in a webinar in March 2021. The area is fortunate to have many of the habitats that owls require and John has worked with owls in the area from the early 80s, and with the North Cumbria Barn Owl group.

The main issue for increasing the numbers of Barn Owls in the area proved to be a lack of nest sites and a nest box scheme was the only solution. Over the years, the scheme has monitored the breeding success and the dispersion of the Barn Owls in the area.

Learn more about these silent predators, five species of which breed in the UK. The Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl, and Short-eared Owl are native to Britain, and the Little Owl was introduced in the late 1800s. The small numbers of Eagle Owl which breed here are thought to be escapees or deliberate releases.

One of the main joys of having owls active and nesting in an area is watching them hunting. A breeding pair of Barn Owls can consume 4000 prey items per year and, historically, they were the farmer’s friend for feeding on rats and mice. It is hoped that the development of new farming techniques may allow all owl species to recover and increase in numbers.

As part of the Fellfoot Forward LPS, John Miles will be expanding the number of Barn Owl nest boxes in the area and is looking for suitable opportunities for hosting a box.

Photo credit: Barn Owl (c) David Higgins

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