This national survey is ongoing.
This survey is ongoing
As part of Project Owl, BTO are keen to encourage birdwatchers to go out and listen for Long-eared Owls, one of our most poorly known breeding species. The Rare Breeding Bird Panel report for 2017 was able to record details for just 270-338 confirmed breeding pairs for the UK, with none in Herts, but this is almost certainly a significant underestimate. Now is a good time to go out and listen for the species in areas of suitable habitat. Please see https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/project-owl/learn-about-owls/long-eared-owl for information on the species. If you do have the good fortune to locate a Long-eared Owl, please contact the Herts Bird Recorder in the first instance and refrain from putting out news more widely, as this species is easily disturbed.
Tawny Owl Surveys
This survey is now complete
In the autumn of 2018, there was a national Tawny Owl Point Survey TOPS organised by the BTO. Various 10km squares were selected and tetrads (squares of 2km x 2km) identified within them so that results could be compared with unpublished data from Tawny Owl surveys in 1989 and 2005. Nationally it is estimated that about 54% of the tetrads were occupied compared with 63% previously. Within Hertfordshire 47 tetrads were allocated.
The second element of the surveying was a Tawny Owl Calling Survey TOCS . This involved listening regularly from a fixed point (e.g. outside the front door!). This recruited a large number of people new to bird surveying. In Hertfordshire, 174 individual people signed up covering 183 sites. Online data was submitted for 123 sites of which Tawny Owls were heard at least once in 94 of them.