Barn owl conservation in the Mid and East Antrim Borough

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been doing its bit for Barn Owls.

The barn owl is one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic species but is unfortunately also one of the most endangered. There is thought to be less than 30 to 40 breeding pairs left in Northern Ireland and the main reason for the barn owl’s decline is the loss of suitable feeding and nesting sites.

In order to enhance our parks and open spaces for barn owls our staff have specially chosen three sites in the Borough as potential barn owl habitat and have installed three custom built barn owl nest boxes. The boxes have been installed at Eden Allotment Gardens Carrickfergus, Diamond Jubilee Wood Whitehead and Ecos Nature Park Ballymena. Rough grassland near the edges of watercourses, with good rodent populations, provide ideal hunting habitat, and these three sites fit the bill.

Local schools Eden Primary, Kilcoan Primary and Ballykeel Primary helped out with the project, with pupils learning all about barns owls and helping to build the nest boxes.

Mayor, Ballykeel PS P6 Ecos

The habitats in Mid and East Antrim offer great feeding opportunities for barn owls but there was a lack of suitable nest sites in the area. Hopefully barn owls will find and use these new nest boxes. If even one box is used, we can monitor it and this will make a significant contribution to the knowledge of these mysterious birds.

So be vigilant and if you are lucky enough to see one of these wonderful birds we would be delighted to hear from you. You can contact:

 T: 028 9393 8231

However, please do not disturb the barn owl in any way. They are protected under the Wildlife Order and it is an offence to disturb the birds or their nests.