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Cornwall's Barn Owl Crisis

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8:01am 15th June 2014

Pirate FM has learnt that numbers of barn owls in Cornwall were at their worst ever last year.

Experts say the figure of nesting pairs was less than half of what it should have been.

They reckon it is partly down to starvation in the bad weather, as the cold stops small mammals that they feed on from being active.

But another big killer is our roads, especially the A30.

Barn owls are at the top of the food chain, so if things are going wrong with them then there is a sign there are problems for lots of other wildlife as well.

Now a new survey website is launching in a bid to save them, where the public can report sightings of the birds.

The information will then be used to develop projects across the county.

There has not been a survey like this for a significant amount of time.

David Ramsden is from The Barn Owl Trust, he said: "We do have a monitoring scheme going on, particularly in west Cornwall, and we know that last year was the worst year ever recorded, not only for barn owls in Cornwall but across virtually all of Britain, the number of nesting pairs was way, way down, much less than half of the figure that we should have seen.

"They are absolutely stunning, I mean anyone who has ever had a really good view of a wild barn owl, it's the kind of thing you remember for the rest of your life, it sends a shiver down your spine, and they are absolutely beautiful."

8:01am 15th June 2014

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