The Barn Owl: Guardian of the Countryside


The first book to go beyond describing this, our most treasured bird, and to examine how our changing environment is affecting its future. It is illustrated with colour photographs throughout, and the text is supported by maps, charts, and tables.

“A first class addition to the literature on owls.” – Country-Side magazine

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SKU: 9781873580899 Categories: ,


ISBN 13 978 1 873580 89 9
Publisher Whittet Books
Author Jeff R. Martin
Format 240 mm x 165 mm
Binding Hardback (PPC)
Extent 256 pages
Illustrations Colour throughout (Photographs, charts, tables, maps)
Publication October 2017

The briefest glimpse of this beautiful bird swooping across a field reassures us that all is well in our beloved countryside—but is that really the case?
With its universal appeal, it is no surprise that the barn owl is one of the most studied birds in the world. In this book Jeff Martin has compiled both his own research findings and those of the world’s leading experts to give a detailed insight into the barn owl’s fascinating lifestyle and behaviours.
The barn owl Tyto alba belongs to the worldwide genus of Tyto, which presently comprises some 12 species of barn owl and 13 other closely related species. How this family of birds has managed to spread itself around the world has been a puzzle to ornithologists for many years, and Jeff is the first one to address this question formally by presenting some thought-provoking theories. He also discusses the origins of the name and the history that has brought the barn owl to the forefront of wildlife conservation.
The more we learn about barn owls the more we need to look at their environment. How fragile is their future? How dependent is their existence on our conservation efforts? Jeff explores the issues and discusses possible longer-term strategies to ensure that barn owls will continue to thrive in Britain. If we get things right for the barn owl, our countryside will benefit too.
Jeff Martin is a naturalist and conservationist with a passion for studying owls and the species they rely upon. As an established writer, he has had a number of articles published, and this is his second book on barn owls. He lives near Colchester in Essex.
REVIEW from Alan Sieradzki, Global Owl Project:
‘It’s an absolute cracker…I must admit my first thoughts were “not another Barn Owl book”. Now, after reading the book, I will be the first to say “this is not just another Barn Owl book”. One the one hand, it is a Barn Owl book, with a whole range of well thought out, accurate and beautfully referenced facts on this wonderful bird, also with the added bonus of many though provoking questions thrown in. On the other hand, the book is also a beautifully structured history of the British countryside and the many trials and tribulations this wonderful land has had to face over the centures, and those it still has to face in the foreseeable future.
‘The balance is just right throughout and the section ‘Prey and habitat diversity’ is inspired…Honestly, I have not enjoyed reading an ‘owl book’ as much since reading Tony Soper and John Sparks’ Owls: Their Natural and Unnatural History, back in 1970′

Bryan Sage in Country-Side, the magazine of the British Naturalists’ Association:
‘Do we need yet another book [on owls]? The answer in this case is yes for, in addition to his own extensive research, the author has also drawn on the work of the world’s leading experts…Lavishly illustrated in colour, this is a first class addition to the literature on owls.’

Additional information

Weight 1.5 kg