help ensure survival of two barn owls
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has launched an appeal to raise £20,000 to help manage the nature reserve at Lorton Meadows in Weymouth, which is currently home to a pair of barn owls who have been residing there since 2010.
Last year the barn owls raised five owlets at Lorton Meadows, which was streamed live on the DWT webcam, to an audience across the world.
However, for them to continue to thrive and bring up their young in the future, they are dependent on the quality of their immediate habitat for shelter and food.
DWT has been managing the nature reserve at Lorton Meadows for 20 years this year, which has 75 hectares of flower-rich hay meadows, mature hedgerows and woodland – all holding the small mammals that barn owls hunt, such as voles, mice and shrews.
DWT’s community conservation officer at Lorton Meadows, Sam Dallimore said, “We were very lucky to have five chicks hatch and fledge in 2017, which is amazing considering this is double the national average. However, barn owls are in decline nationally, which is in part caused by low food availability, due to loss of habitat. A barn owl’s range extends only about 1km from the nest site in the breeding season. Owlets have huge appetites and can eat their own weight of food in a single night. This is why we want to work even harder to ensure that these and other barn owls have the natural hunting habitat and feeding opportunities at Lorton Meadows. Barn owls will only breed where food is abundant.”
Work, which will be funded at Lorton Meadows through this appeal, includes: reducing areas of encroaching scrub to increase areas of grassland where barn owls feed; putting up 1,900m of fencing to maintain the grassland by cattle grazing, and managing 300m of hedgerows on the site. More than 300 conservation volunteers will take part in volunteering activities.
To see the webcam, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/raptorcam and to find out more about visiting Lorton Meadows, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/Lorton_Meadows_Nature_Reserve
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Tags: Dorset Wildlife Trust