A real hoot for barn owl figures
Article Date: 2009-01-12 Source: http://www.bostonstandard.co.uk
Lincolnshire, England, U.K. - In China, 2008 may well have been the year of the rat, but in the
fens it was the year of the barn owl. Following years of decline in Lincolnshire, the species appears to be staging an impressive comeback.
Sightings of the bird of the prey were up 500 per cent in 2008 compared to the
year before, when it fell to just four.
This is one of the findings of staff at the Witham Third Drainage Board, who
for the last 10 years have carried out weekly surveys of wildlife within their
270 square mile drainage district.
Chief executive and clerk to the board Chris Elkington said he was encouraged
and surprised by the figures.
"Following a fairly devastating 2007 when everything got wet, drowned, and God
knows what else, numbers are recovering well, and far quicker than I expected
them to," he said.
Mr Elkington put the soaring barn owl numbers down to another surprising
comeback... that of the water vole.
Sightings of the semi-aquatic mammals – endangered in this country – were up 20
per cent last year compared to the flood-struck 2007, in which they fell 40 per
Mr Elkington explained that water voles are the staple diet of barn owls and as
such their fortunes linked. With the floods of 2007, water voles were being
dragged out of the water at the pumping stations, he said.
"Effectively their habitat was destroyed in the same way as people's houses,"
said Mr Elkington.
The board has done its bit in bringing both species back with ledges carved into
the drains for the water voles to have access to the water and also spot prey
above, and through its ongoing barn owl box project, now in its 20th year.
There were also slight reductions in the numbers of kingfishers, lapwings,
skylarks, and stable numbers of grass snakes, brown hares, and herons.
The figures will now be given to the Lincolnshire Environmental Records Centre
to help it develop its plans for wildlife preservation across the county.
Disclaimer: This article has been reproduced from http://www.bostonstandard.co.uk and placed here for comment.
OwlPages.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any information in this article, and does not necessarily agree with the author's opinions.
2011-06-11 - New chicks are a boost to barn owl numbers - Lincolnshire, England, U.K.
< Previous News article | Next News Article >
Comment on the above News article.