Waveney's 100th bird of prey nesting box

The Waveney valley could soon be filled with kites, barn and tawny owls and kestrels under a scheme to carpet the area with specially-constructed bird boxes.

The Waveney valley could soon be filled with kites, owls and kestrels under a scheme to put up specially-built bird boxes across the area.

Yesterday, volunteers put up the 100th bird of prey bird box in the valley in five years - a box designed to attract barn owls at Thornham Walks, near Eye.

Designed by local wildlife artists and bird enthusiasts Roger Buxton and Keven Boyce, and based on a design by the Hawk and Owl Trust, the box was placed in a tree that is known to have had barn owls nesting on it in the past.

Upper Waveney valley countryside ranger Tim Page said the idea was to put boxes close together to encourage fledglings to stay in the area.

He said that since the project began in 2001, the area had seen an increase in the number of resident kestrels, kites, and barn and tawny owls.

Mr Page said: "This area provides a very good habitat for the birds and we want to encourage more to breed here. The more boxes we get, the closer we can put them together, which encourages fledglings to stay in the area."

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Mr Buxton added: "Good natural nest sites are at a premium and an artificial box can make the difference between a suitable territory being occupied and not."

Funding is now running out, and the countryside partnership has introduced a sponsorship scheme for schools, businesses, landowners and individuals.

Sponsorship starts from £20, which covers the raw material for the bird boxes, and the package includes a certificate, information sheets and updates on the success of the boxes.