Mid Cheshire Barn
Owl Conservation Group

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In 1932 there were 240 pairs of barn owls in Cheshire and by 1985 there was just 35 pairs. This represents a decline in Cheshire of 85% against an average decline rate of 69%. This is one of the highest decline rates in England & Wales. That was bad but worse was to come and in 1999 only 10 breeding pairs were recorded in Cheshire.

The number of breeding pairs in 2000 was recorded as 19 and appeared to have been an increase over previous years but the truth is that recording was been more accurate due to the increasing network of recorders which is related to the increased membership of barn owl groups and increased public awareness.

However progress has now been in made and in 2003 we there are around 30 breeding pairs of barn owl in the county, 5 of them in Mid Cheshire. This is good but not yet good enough, a long dry summer or harsh winter could seriously reduce this number very quickly.

Each pair produced an average of 2.2 fledglings (several known nest sites were inaccessible in 2000 but this would not sigificantly alter this figure). It has been calculated that at least three fledglings per breeding pair are required to maintain stable barn owl population in Cheshire, as things stand we can expect the decline to continue.

So despite the barn owl having had special protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 the future of the barn owl in Cheshire is as precarious as ever. We aim to reverse this decline.
All images Ian Philip Jones 2001-2009, no permission to use any of them is implied.