The PTES orchard team is joining forces with the UK Little Owl Project to help discover more about their distribution decline. We want to assess the public reception of this species and are also offering free little owl boxes for orchards. Let us know what you think by filling out this short questionnaire.
Little owls are a recent, and for the most part welcome, addition to the UK’s fauna, making themselves particularly at home in traditional orchards over the last 130 years. Although not native, they are not ‘invasive’ and generally not considered to be a pest. They feed mostly on insects, worms and small mammals, and are in turn a prey species for larger birds, particularly barn owls. Recorded sightings of this charismatic bird have dropped by around half in the last ten years alone, and 65% in 25 years, so we are helping the UK Little Owl Project to find out more and promote good little owl habitat in orchards. By managing orchards in ways that are beneficial to insects we can benefit the entire ecosystem including little owls.
As part of this joint project we are asking people to conduct a simple survey which will let you know if little owls are in your area and report your findings back to us, and for those with orchards there is a limited number of free little owl bird boxes available for anyone who’d like to join in. For the slightly more adventurous, instructions will be provided on how to more closely monitor little owl box usage and brood numbers. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.