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Volunteers needed to lend an ear to tawny owl study

PUBLISHED: 11:50 08 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:58 08 October 2018

Tawny coming to land  Pic: Laurence Liddy

Tawny coming to land Pic: Laurence Liddy

Laurence Liddy

Wildlife enthusiasts from East Anglia are being asked to take part in a national study of tawny owls, so experts can get a better idea of the bird’s population and how factors such as urbanisation and light pollution are affecting this night-time hunter.

The British Trust for Ornithology is asking members of the public to monitor tawny owl calling behaviour, by listening out for them this autumn and winter. The Trust says a new study is urgently needed because tawny owl populations are thought to have declined since the last survey over a decade ago and the species has recently been added to the Amber List of Birds of Conservation Concern drawn up by the UK’s leading bird conservation organisations.

Anyone can participate - keeping an ear out for this most distinctive of owl calls from their garden, a local park or piece of woodland.

Survey organiser at the BTO Claire Boothby said: “You can listen from pretty much anywhere you like for 20 minutes one evening a week. Anyone can take part and the more people that do the better picture scientists at BTO will have of our tawny owls - you can even do it from the comfort of your bed.”

Participants are asked to decide on a location and register online. The survey runs from September 30 2018 to March 31 2019 and those taking part don’t have to commit to listening every week, but they’ll be providing valuable data by recording for as many weeks as they can. If people don’t hear a tawny owl from their location, that detail is also important to the BTO.

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