Barn Owl Education Evening
Sunday 22nd July 2012

An invited group of children from Macclesfield Wildlife Explorers met for an educational evening to help get children enthused by nature.
They learned about Barn Owls in Cheshire and about the purpose and
techniques for the safe ringing and recording of a family of Barn Owl chicks.

Across the UK the Barn Owl has been less able to adapt to changes in the environment than many other birds. In Cheshire in the latter half of the 20th Century, the Barn Owl declined rapidly. In 1998, there were only seven known breeding pairs of Barn Owls in Cheshire and they produced 17 chicks (owlets).

Since that time many people have worked hard to help the Barn Owls reverse that decline. In 2011, 144 known pairs produced 395 chicks, and there are now approximately 1388 barn owl nest boxes in Cheshire.
For more information, or to volunteer help,

Click here for the East Cheshire Barn Owl Group

Barn Owl Ringing & Recording
Please note: Barn owls have special protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981,
and special training and licences are require to disturb or handle these birds.
This is not something that members of the public can do on their own.
The people running our event had the appropriate BTO and Natural England licences
and all activities took place under their direction and control.

Using one of the Barn Owl nestboxes erected by East Cheshire Barn Owl Group, a pair of Barn Owls
had made a nest and were raising 3 owlets. While the parent birds were out hunting for food,
the experts carefully removed the owlets from their nestbox, weighed, measured and ringed them.
The length of their 7th primary wing feathers was used to establish their ages and their weight
gave a check on their health.

It was amazing to see their different stages of development
and a great privilege to get such a close-up experience of these iconic birds.


Feedback from a parent was glowing: "Both children were so excited about the evening.
They could not wait to tell me about it. I think it will make a lasting impression.
They were amazed that not long ago nearly all the barn owls had gone from Cheshire.
The difference that people can make for good really struck them."

Thanks to Neville and Hugh for explaining the ringing process
and fielding lots of questions,
and to David Tolliday for co-ordinating the evening.