Wildlife volunteers needed for annual barn owl survey
WILDLIFE lovers are being urged to help safeguard the future of one of Northern Ireland's most endangered birds, by getting involved in a series of specialist workshops.
Ulster Wildlife is looking for volunteers to take part in its annual barn owl survey, which started in 2014.
Those involved will have to record sightings of the iconic farmland bird, check historic and potential nest sites for signs of activity, liaise with landowners to gather information, and raise public awareness of the barn owl's plight.
A series of workshops are being held in Craigavon, Cookstown, Enniskillen, Randalstown, Coleraine, Downpatrick and Bangor, throughout May and June and all training and equipment will be provided.
Conor McKinney, Living Landscapes Manager with Ulster Wildlife, said the barn owl is "one of our most cherished species, but is sadly under serious threat as a result of habitat loss and rodenticide use".
"It is now thought there are less than 30 to 50 breeding pairs left here," he said.
"Volunteers play a crucial role in helping us to track down these elusive birds and monitor year on year trends in the barn owl population. We had a fantastic response to the survey over the last two years and the data collected enables us to target our conservation work to help barn owls thrive".
Further information is available at www.ulsterwildlife.org/barnowl.