BirdWatch Ireland is calling on farmers to consider taking up the barn owl action in the new Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES).

The measure is aimed at addressing some of the factors which have caused the barn owl population decline.

It requires adopting an integrated pest management approach to reduce the use and effects of rodenticides and to provide a nest box in a suitable location, for which the farmer receives a payment of €36.48 per unit per year.

The barn owl is a species which has seen widespread declines in its population and range, and is a red-listed bird of conservation concern in Ireland. The provision of nest boxes for barn owls has been a huge conservation success story in recent years.

BirdWatch Ireland has recorded over 150 nest boxes which are used by breeding barn owls and this number continues to increase each year.