Royston farms launch investigation into the decline of the barn owl

THE plight of the declining barn owl will be investigated at two Royston cereal farms.

Thrift Farm and Highfield Farm are taking part in a project which will see roosting birds being used to explore why numbers are falling.

It is estimated there are just 6,000-8,000 pairs in the UK by the Barn Owl Conservation Network compared to the 12,000 believed to exist in the 1930s.

The two sites are Conservation Grade listed farms which means the farmers manage 10 per cent of their land as a habitat for wildlife.

Rob Law of Thrift Farm, said: “As a farmer, I’m a custodian of the British countryside, which is why it is so important schemes like Conservation Grade exist to ensure there is wildlife left in the countryside for generations to come.

“I am really proud our farm is managing to support scarce wildlife like barn owls.”

The Project Barn Owl scheme studies whether barn owl chicks survive to fledge because of the habitats found on Conservation Grade Farms.

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Nest boxes have been placed on 50 farms across the country in a bid to measure the impact of surroundings on survival rates.

Both Royston farms supply cereal producer, Jordans, and to mark the launch of the project an Adopt a Barn Owl competition has been launched.

Four people will be able to name their own barn owl chick which it is hoped will fledge on one of their sites this summer.

The winner will get a year’s supply of Jordans cereal, a certificate and a free family pass to a Norfolk nature reserve.

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