Barn Owl Research
Running alongside the Barn Owl Project, John Lusby (a student at University College Cork) is carrying out research on the ecological requirements of Barn Owls. Previous research on their habitat requirements in this country is limited, and such information is vital in order to maximise conservation efforts and determine optimum foraging habitats. The research will involve radio tracking adult male Barn Owls to gain insight into their movements and foraging behaviour.
In addition to researching habitat requirements, the research is also focused on investigating the potential impacts of rodenticides on the population. Potentially harmful second generation rodenticides are widely used and in Ireland Barn Owls rely on commensal rodents (such as rats and mice) to a greater extent than they do in other European countries, therefore the hazards from secondary poisoning are likely to be much greater.
In order to assist with this important aspect of the research any information on Barn Owl carcasses encountered would be gratefully received. Liver tissue samples from the carcasses can be tested to estimate the level of exposure of the bird to these toxins, and from this we can gain a better idea of the effects that they are having on the population as a whole.
Please report any Barn Owl carcasses encountered or any information on active Barn Owl sites to John at the BirdWatch Ireland Midlands Office.