St Andrews Links Trust has sponsored the building and installation of a barn owl nesting box which has been sited close to the Strathtyrum Course.
“Many of the barn owl’s natural habitat areas have been destroyed over recent decades and concerted action is needed to preserve this bird for the future,” said Gordon Moir, links superintendent.
The open grassland habitat of the Links is well suited to barn owls, which prey on small rodents such as shrews, voles and mice. Nesting boxes are built in areas where barn owls have been sighted and it is hoped a pair will take up occupancy soon.
“Barn owls mate for life and stay in the same area once they are settled, so if we can attract a breeding pair we can enjoy the sight and sound of these magical birds for many years to come,” said Gordon.
The box was installed by Ranald Strachan and Bob Westin of the Fife Ranger Service. “There are only around 800 barn owls in Scotland, and although the population is stable the bird is considered scarce,” said Ranald.
Constructed according to guidelines from the Barn Owl Trust, the nesting box is made from outdoor plywood and roofing felt and is designed to last for at least twenty years. It was built at Stratheden Hospital by members of a vocational training initiative run by FACET, Fife Arts and Crafts Enterprise Training, which provides workshops for people with disability or illness.
“The workshop specialises in environmental products, including bird box kits which are assembled by children as a contribution towards achieving Green Flag status for their school,” said Niall Barnett, an instructor with Fife Council.
Barn owls have a distinctive heart shaped white face, white front and a pale brown back.
St Andrews Links Trust www.standrews.org.uk