Although there has been a drop in numbers of barn owls since the 1930s, numbers have increased and in 2015 the species conservation status was changed from amber (of conservation concern) to green (of least conservation concern). The 2016 Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report estimated there were about 200 breeding sites in Norfolk.
The number of barn owls nesting and breeding successfully is dependent on the vole population, voles form a large part of the barn owl diet, and a bad year for voles can cause a dip in barn owl numbers as fewer chicks survive.
In addition to the loss of grassland/woodland areas and the development of old buildings, particularly barns being converted into housing. Road deaths have also led to declines, particularly in winter. Owls generally, will not breed in the areas surrounded by roads, this may also suppress the population.
However, barn owls are currently doing well in Norfolk and it remains one of the best places in the country to see these lovely birds.
Picture by Julian Thomas