National Grid worker in tree setting up a barn owl box

Protecting winter wildlife

Caring for the natural environment and the wildlife who make their homes on our land is an important part of what we do. Find out how we’re protecting birds over the winter months at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve.

As winter approaches, major work is going on hold at the Portbury Wharf Nature reserve near Portishead. Between September and April all core construction work will stop to minimise disturbance to the many wintering birds who make the reserve their home.

This is not the only work being done to ensure that the birds of Portbury are well cared for while we prepare to install underground cables in January 2020. We’ve also built new homes for the local barn owl population. The four new barn owl boxes and the introduction of specialised buffer zones are part of our work to safeguard nesting sites for species of protected birds.

The North Somerset Council Natural Environment Team said: “We’re pleased to see the barn owl boxes being installed. As the mornings and evenings get darker [you can see] the ghostly-white Barn Owl silently gliding across the fields of the reserve in search of food before returning to their daytime roosts. It’s a truly wonderful sight.”

Other work to protect and reduce disruption to wildlife includes the installation of temporary exclusion fencing and daily checks of pitfall traps and tiles to stop protected species from entering the construction areas. Any species found are safely moved to designated sites within the reserve.