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'A Plight for Flight'

In the mid-20th Century changes to farming practises, like the rise of the combine harvester and storage of seeds reduced food sources for rodents which affected the prey availability for Barn Owls. It was estimated that these factors caused a 70% decline in the UK population of Barn owls between 1932 and 1985.

Unfortunately, today Barn Owls still face similar issues regarding farming practises with a loss in rough grass verges, a favoured hunting ground for Barn Owls. The Barn Owl Trust data shows that the number of nesting pairs at monitored sites in the UK in 2018 was 13% below the average of all previous data-collection years and the average number of young in the nest was down by 4.2%. It is suggested that this is not necessarily caused by farming practises but is mainly impacted by climate change, a widespread and ongoing issue. Extreme weather events, food production and crop failure all have been affected by this, which impacts on our wildlife.

The Screech Owl Sanctuary, Cornwall, opened in 1994. Shortly after opening, in 2002, a hospital was built on site to aid the influx of injured or ill owls being admitted every year. Over Ewan's 2nd year of university, he worked closely with staff of the sanctuary, documenting their work and effort to rehabilitate and release some the UK's most beloved species of owl. Ewan has a strong passion of birds and the protection and preservation of wildlife is at the forefront of his endeavours. His project set out to illustrate the importance of having small conservation groups in the UK.

One of the Ewan's images was featured in issue 359 of the 'Yours' magazine published by Bauer Media. 

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