BTO: Britain's owls need twenty minutes

Tawny Owl (Howard Stockdale)


Twenty minutes once during your week is all it will take to find out just how Britain’s Tawny Owls are faring.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is asking members of the public to listen out for Tawny Owls to help build a picture of what is happening to our most widespread owl. 

Evidence suggests that our Tawny Owl population is falling and it might be that we are losing them from our towns and cities. Taking part in the BTO’s Tawny Owl Calling Survey will help make this clearer.

Tawny Owls are very difficult to monitor, as they live their lives during the hours of darkness, so we often hear them rather than see them. We want people to listen for the distinctive ‘hoot’ calls of the males and sharp ‘kee-wick’ of the females. Anyone can take part and the BTO website has a series of Tawny Owl recordings for people to familiarize themselves with the various calls.

Claire Boothby, Tawny Owl Calling Survey Organiser at the BTO, said, “Getting involved couldn’t be simpler - Just wrap up warm and give yourself 20 minutes to listen for the haunting calls of Tawny Owls between now and the end of March. You can listen from your garden, local wood or park, or even from the comfort of the sofa with your window open, and tell us whether or not you hear an owl. Don’t worry if you don’t hear one in your 20 minutes; that record is just as valuable and you’ll become one of our Zero Heroes!”

The BTO would like at least 10,000 people across the UK to take part, nearly 6000 volunteers have already told what us what they have heard, you can help by listening out too.

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