Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Sunday, 8 February 2009

Trust to increase barn owl pairs

Barn owls
Similar schemes in the county have seen rises in owl numbers

A new barn owl project has been launched in west Devon to increase the number of pairs in the area.

Devon-based charity the Barn Owl Trust said it had seen a mysterious decline of about 88% in 10 years and that it hoped to turn that around.

The new project will focus on the area between Dartmoor and the River Tamar, and will offer advice to landowners and farmers about creating habitat areas.

More than 100 new nest boxes will also be put up.

The number of recorded nests in west Devon fell from 16 in 1993 to only two in 2003. The rest of Devon saw numbers increased by 42% to more than 350 pairs during the same period.

Similar schemes between 1997 and 2003 in the South Hams, Teignbridge, north and east Devon districts saw an increase in barn owl numbers.

The trust said it hoped the latest scheme would be just as successful.

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