Aim and activities of the Barn Owl Protection Foundation in the
The Barn Owl is referred to as a ’red alert species’ (or red list
species) according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food
Quality confirming its status as a severely endangered bird species
nowadays. As a consequence, extra surveillance and protection
measures are taken. Approximately 35 year ago, a number of
enthusiastic volunteers started the construction and distribution
of wooden box nests. The fact that the breeding population of the
Barn Owl had been estimated at approximately 100 pairs only in 1979
illustrated the urgent need of this initiative. Thanks to the joint
action of the volunteers and the Dutch branch of Birdlife a network
dedicated to Barn Owl protection is effective to date with
extensive rural coverage. In 2004, the management of the
network dedicated to Barn Owl protection changed from the Dutch
branch of Birdlife to the Barn Owl Foundation.
Fotografie André Eijkenaar
According to the mission of the Foundation, its activities are
aimed at Barn Owl protection by means of providing information and
education, placing of wooden box nests and collecting various data
in order to monitor the size of the population in the
The rural network dedicated to Barn Owl protection managed by
the Foundation consists of about 1000 volunteers active in 16
regions supervising more than 10,000 box nests for Barn Owls.
The members of the Foundation construct and put in place box
nests, ring Barn Owls and collect various data in order to know the
structure of the Barn Owl population as well as the behaviour of
individual owls better. The generated data are stored centrally and
are comprising around 30,000 records dealing with breeding and
almost 5000 ring recoveries from dead or alive individuals.
The Foundation supports the volunteers through providing box
nests and materials for data collection whenever possible.
The Foundation publishes a newsletter annually intended for
people housing box nests like farmers. This newsletter contains
information on the size of the Barn Owl population and its breeding
success as well as background information on other owls with rural
preference and other interesting facts and technical advices
concerning Barn Owl protection.
The educational aspect is taken care of via the organisation of a
conference dedicated to Barn Owl protection twice yearly. Besides
information on the Barn Owl is made available via the website of
the Foundation and by means of disposition of brochures on
selective topics dealing with Barn Owl protection.
In addition, the Foundation collects information on illegal
trade and housing of Barn Owls and functions as the helpdesk on
such matters too. Violations of the appropriate law will be brought
under the attention of the legal authorities thereby facilitating
Thanks to the efforts of the many volunteers in cooperation with
farmers and citizens in the countryside the breeding population of
the Barn Owl increased from approximately 100 pairs thirty years
ago to about 3000 pairs nowadays.