Barn Owls, where are they all and are their numbers declining?

We seem inundated with individuals or organisations asking for support for their particular cause.  One wonders what will happen when the Lobbying Bill becomes law, will people power and citizen campaigns be a thing of the past?  I wouldn’t like to try to hazard a guess of the number of online petitions with an environmental conservation association but I offer another which readers may like to consider signing, before they too become a rare species ….

If the inference of this issue is correct then it might go part way to explaining the paucity of sightings of the ‘enigmatic ghost’ in terms of my garden list!  The text used below is taken directly from the petition website.



Barn Owl.  Photo by Neal Young, used under Creative Commons.


Barn owls, a majestic icon of the British countryside, are dying off  in their thousands. A changing climate and habitat loss is part of the picture,  but Britain’s barn owls are also being killed by powerful rat poisons being  used on farms across the country.

When owls eat poisoned rodents,  they ingest toxins which can cause internal bleeding. Although not all die as a  direct result, experts believe the poisons affect their ability to hunt and  breed. 8 in 10 barn owls have been found to have these poisons in their  bloodstreams, but there is a glimmer of hope for this beautiful predator —  the government is reviewing how such poisons are used.

Let’s flood the  minister responsible for the review with demands to impose stricter controls on  these powerful poisons, restricting where and how they are used and throwing a  lifeline to our owls.

The number of barn owls in Britain has catastrophically collapsed,  partly due to extreme weather events like freezing winters, cold springs and wet  summers. Since the roll-out of the poisons, the numbers of barn owls testing  positive for toxins has risen dramatically.

There have been no  scientific studies into the effects of non-lethal doses of these poisons on barn  owls. But when humans are exposed to small doses of similar poisons, they  cause burning fevers, vomiting and diarrhoea. Feeling unwell can be the  difference between life and death for a predator that relies on hunting to  survive.

These poisons are found on three quarters of Britain’s farms,  and are often laid permanently to prevent rodent infestations, rather than  occasionally to end them. Join our call for Britain to bring in stronger  regulation on the use and labelling of these deadly poisons to help save  Britain’s barn owls – before they disappear forever.

Read more on Barn Owls and Rodenticides.

To add your voice to the call which is directed  To Mike Penning MP and the Health and Safety Executive: Britain’s Barn Owls are in crisis. We call for the introduction of stronger controls on the use of powerful rodent poisons and clear labelling on packaging, as recommended by the Barn Owl Trust.   Click here.



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