Category: Sussex Barn Owl Group

Colour ringing project commences

The British Trust for Ornithology has supported the Sussex Barn Owl Group’s colour ringing project and granted us the required endorsements.

We colour ringed a very early brood of two Barn Owls at a site near Cuckfield in late May. In the photo, we see red ring numbered ADA fitted to a 52-day old male. His sibling, another male, bears a ring with letters ADB. We will colour ring over 200 Barn Owls in Sussex during this breeding season.

We are now asking all observers to be vigilant and report any colour ringed Barn Owls to your normal recorder or database and also to the Sussex Barn Owl group, using our email below. Please state the ring letters, which, as you can see from the photograph, are highly visible, plus the location of your sighting. This will provide us with significantly more information about adult and chick dispersal. All sightings will be acknowledged, and observers will be informed of the bird’s original breeding location.

Out thanks go to Sussex Ornithological Society who are partnering this by funding the colour rings.

Please email us via:


Tawny Owls


While the Barn Owl is the primary focus of the Sussex Barn Owl Group, we are also actively installing and monitoring Tawny Owl boxes. Despite being the UK’s most widespread owl species, Tawny Owls are now Amber listed due to a recent decline in numbers.

Pictured is an adult male, roosting in one of our mid-Sussex boxes, which we trapped and ringed on the 20th May.

Approximately 900 chicks and 100-150 adults are ringed in the UK annually. This isn’t a vast number, so we will be increasing our recording efforts to obtain further information regarding breeding site fidelity and brood size.

Tawny Owls are early breeders, so the team’s breeding monitoring activities start in April through to early June. We are currently checking around 50 boxes installed across Sussex. More box installations are also planned for 2024/25.

Barn Owl box monitoring and ringing starts late June and runs through to August, when we visit over 250 boxes!

Please contact the group if you are interested in participating by emailing:


Welcome to the Sussex Barn Owl Group


Barn Owl monitoring in Sussex began in the middle of the last century through the efforts of the late Barrie Watson. 3,346 Barn Owls were marked using his rings. In 2019, our group was formed by Barrie, Terry Hallahan, and Stuart Card, and it is now home to a dedicated team of volunteers, including professional ecologists, ornithologists, biologists, and conservationists, as well as enthusiastic birders. Together we are committed to the preservation and protection of Sussex’s owl population.

  • We monitor over 250 Barn Owl boxes across Sussex each year.
  • Through our active installation of nest boxes in strategic locations, we have not only stabilised but also contributed to the growth of the Sussex Barn Owl population.
  • With over 90% of Barn Owls in the UK now using nest boxes, our efforts have had a significant impact on their conservation.
  • Beyond Barn Owls: While our focus is primarily on Barn Owls, we also install and monitor boxes for other bird species, including Tawny Owls, Little Owls, and Kestrels. Many of these boxes have been successfully occupied, resulting in the raising of broods, and furthering our conservation objectives.


Why not join us?

  • Whether you’re a seasoned conservationist or simply passionate about the welfare of owls and birds of prey, we welcome you to join us!
  • If you’re a resident of Sussex and share our commitment to conservation, we’d love to hear from you.
  • If you own land with habitat suitable to support breeding raptors, or have seen owls in your local area, please get in touch.


Volunteer opportunities

Consider volunteering with us to help install and monitor nest boxes, contributing directly to the conservation efforts in your local community.
No experience is necessary – just a love for wildlife and a willingness to make a difference!

Join us today: Become part of our passionate team dedicated to the conservation of owls and birds of prey in Sussex.

Find out more here on Facebook or email us at: