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Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Wednesday, 19 January 2011
New homes installed on Wallasea Island for barn owls
Two new barn owl boxes have been installed on Wallasea Island
Two new barn owl boxes have been installed on Wallasea Island

An Essex boat company has installed new homes for barn owls on Wallasea Island near Rochford with help from the RSPB's Wild Coast Project.

There are approximately 150 pairs in Essex, thou, numbers are in decline due in part to the loss of nesting areas.

Essex Boatyards have installed two unique boxes and also planted a number of trees around its boatyard.

The owls have yet to take up residence, however it is hoped the inclusion of additional bedding will help.

"Wallasea Island has very few trees and most of those are grown around the boatyard at the Essex Marina," said business owner David Barke.

"We help the birds that use trees to roost and nest by planting new trees and providing nestboxes."

Barn owl
Barn owls number have been in decline due in part to loss of nesting areas

Although barn owls have been seen hunting in the farm area, they are not a common sight.

Visitors to the island may be lucky enough to see short-eared owls at this time of year as they hunt in daylight along the grassy margins of the seawall and the ditches.

Planning for the Wild Coast Project began in 2000, making it the largest coastal restoration project in Europe.

It aims to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats, saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture.

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