Despite being rarely seen, Guernsey hosts a significant population of Barn Owls - probably in the order of 40-60 pairs which are spread out across the island. Kestrels tend to be limited to the low lying coastal areas where there is plenty of low intensity grassland over which they can hunt. Both species have been regularly monitored by dedicated volunteers over a number of years and the Société is looking to maintain a comprehensive record of these species on the island. These are two of the main bird predators in the islands (together with Sparrowhawk, Long-eared Owl & Peregrine) and are important to monitor as they act as a good indicator of the overall 'health' of the wider countryside.
Dutch Elm disease has significantly reduced the number of old trees on the island and as a result the number of suitable nest holes has been reduced. Vic Froome of La Société has made it his mission to reverse this and has been running the Barn Owl & Kestrel box project for a number of years.
How successful is the project?
To date over 500 boxes have been erected around Guernsey. The map below shows that they are widespread around the islands. With maybe 40-60 pairs of Barn Owls and c. 20 pairs of Kestrels in boxes on the island, there is obviously no guarantee that birds will use any one box but by providing saturation cover we can ensure that nest sites are not the factor limiting their population. Boxes can be used by other species including Stock Doves. Jackdaws have prospected some boxes and some have even been colonised by bees!
How can you help?
If you would like a box, Vic can provide you with one for a modest fee and also advise on the best placement. We would ask that you keep an eye out for any activity and report it either via this website or give Vic a call.
Mr Vic Froome
Courtil de Bas
Tel. 01481 254841
Copyright © La Société Guernesiaise 2008. All rights
Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1UG, Channel Islands.