Forestry Commission logo
NEWS RELEASE No: 1392612 AUGUST 2010

Otus the Owl Guest of Honour at Forestry Commission woods

This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.
Otus the long eared owl

Two Forestry Commission forests are hosting a special visitor on Friday 27 August.  Otus the long eared owl will visit Cardinham Woods in Bodmin and Haldon Forest Park near Exeter later in the day. 

Otus, along with this owner Chris Sperring will be visiting to tell people about an exciting project they are working on to discover more about Otus’ fellow long eared owls in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

Chris from the Hawk and Owl Trust has been working with the Forestry Commission taking teams of volunteers carrying out surveys of these rare and elusive nocturnal birds. 

The aim of the surveys has been to discover just how many breeding pairs there are in the South West.

The Long-eared Owl is Britain’s rarest owl species and notoriously difficult to survey.  It is thought that there is a UK population of just 1,500-2000 pairs.  Strongly associated with conifer plantations, the Long-eared Owl actually requires a dual habitat; dense forests in which to roost and nest, and open rough grassland for hunting; particularly favouring Upland and Moorland areas.

Chris Sperring says:

“It has been a great opportunity to work with the Forestry Commission on these surveys.  The fact is that due to their elusive ways we don’t know much at all about the Long-eared Owl, which is why this type of work is so important.  We will be at Cardinham Woods on the 27 August from around 11am until 2.30 and then at Haldon Forest Park from 3.30pm onwards.  We hope to see lots of people on the day.”

There is also a Bat & Moth night planned at Cardinham Woods on Saturday 21 August where the Cardinham ranger will help people attract and identify beautiful native moths and track bats.  The event is suitable for children over 10 years and costs £4 per person.  Booking is essential by calling 01392 834233.

1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

2. For more information about the Hawk and Owl Trust go to or contact Chris Sperring on 01275 843701.

Kirstie Smith, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission on 01392 834249.