Owl Surveys

Should you require owl surveys to be undertaken on your land, we can provide specialist ecologists to help you. With barn own surveys the most common species request, it’s important to identify nesting, feeding and habitat areas as early as possible.

Our expert work will help you to balance your actions and preserve wildlife – which is often what planning departments request.

We’re here to help you progress your development project with the right ecological information to hand. Call us on 01886 888445.

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Why are owl surveys necessary?

The Wildlife and Countryside Act (reinforced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act) gives general protection to all wild birds in Britain. This includes killing, injuring or taking, damaging or destroying nests in use or being built, and taking or destroying eggs. The Berne Convention and the EC Birds Directive also confer protection on birds. 

Your local authority might request that owl (and quite often barn owl) surveys are carried out ahead of any development to your land. Especially if there's a high likelihood of their presence. Barn owls can nest all year round if food is plentiful. Therefore, you might find an active habitat at any time of year. And this would be protected by law. 

What will you do?

Our comprehensive surveys for owls have many stages. We’d first research any established records for the site in question. The next stage would be a field survey to look for evidence of nests, pellets, or owls themselves. We might set up a camera trap and need to visit the site on many occasions.

From this practical work, our ecologists would complete a full report of findings and make suitable recommendations on mitigation. Your actions might include preserving particular habitat areas on your site to facilitate nesting, in addition to enhancing the area for wildlife preservation. In some cases, a license might be required.

We can also undertake pellet analysis, should DNA data be useful. And we’d write a management plan to cover the implementation and monitoring of the recommendations from our owl surveys.


Are barn owl surveys the same?

Yes, they are. We would follow the same programme of work, whatever type of owl presence was likely. Even though owls are nocturnal, the bulk of our survey work is completed in daylight hours.


What mitigation might be required?

How you plan to develop your land will impact on the recommended mitigations. For example, if barn owls are currently nesting in a barn that you wish to convert into a dwelling, we might suggest the installation of barn owl boxes. These can be positioned both internally and externally. A tree or pole-mounted box might also be an option. In fact, it’s common for barn owls to naturally nest in hollowed-out cavities of trees.

The point of mitigation measures is to preserve the needs of local wildlife, whilst enabling you to develop your site appropriately. Our owl surveys will, therefore, help to answer the questions that your planning department will typically ask before granting planning permission.


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