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Man Checking Barn Owl Box

Hadlow Estate barn owl project progress

We recently welcomed reporter Jo Burn from BBC Radio Kent, who joined us for what is always an exciting day on the Estate.

As part of our ongoing barn owl box project, Mark Pritchard from the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership visited us to check on our boxes. This takes place once a year and Mark has a special licence that allows him to do this survey work.

Mark carefully checked each box for any activity and we discovered that three of the seven boxes are in use, though not for breeding this year. Mark explains: “While the boxes haven’t been used for breeding this season, that’s not to say they won’t be used in the future. It is good that the barn owls are using some of them, with one box in particular proving popular, which shows it’s in a great location that the birds clearly like. However, the population of barn owls is cyclical and closely follows that of their main prey item field voles. It may be that the very cold and dry early spring has caused a slump in vole numbers this year.” 

You can listen to the full story and Jo’s report here, including interviews with Mark and Kate Teacher of the Hadlow Estate.

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