Operation Owl: boxes help save these beautiful bellwethers of biodiversity

A Working-based volunteer group strives to create habitats for these nocturnal birds and inspire children to help in conservation, discovers Patrick Barkham.

“These mostly nocturnal birds of prey are an enduring symbol of wisdom and mystery in our culture and children’s books. Harry Potter has triggered a renewed fascination with them. Everyone seems to love owls but there is a problem: populations, particularly of barn owls, have massively declined because of habitat loss but also partly because there are no homes for these much-loved species.

“The possibilities for inspiring schools and young people are endless: owls are a keystone species, bellwethers of biodiversity, and Operation Owl hope that sparking local interest in owls at the apex of a food chain will help people treasure prey species – voles, shrews and invertebrates – and the healthy grasslands, heathlands and woodlands on which they all depend” (Source: www.theguardian.com).

How to set up your own Operation Owl

1-IMG_2241GR:  At least three species of owls live all or part of the year around my place.  We have a Barn Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owls, and Great Horned Owls.  Last fall I installed a Barn Owl box, and I hope to have residents this summer.  Our local Barn Owl story is here.

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