The 55.2 hectares (136.5 acres) Garden City Lands, located between Westminster Highway, Alderbridge Way, Garden City Way and No. 4 Road, is within Vancouver’s protected Agricultural Land Reserve and plays a crucial role as a wildlife refuge in the City of Richmond. The green spaces like is an incredible amenity for the people of Richmond and is also a vital habitat and hunting ground for several rare or threatened species including the Barn Owl.
Barn Owls can and will cohabit with other owls, bats and small birds like doves and sparrows. Barn Owls prefer quiet cavities to nest or roost either in trees or tall structures with multiple openings. They easily take to nest boxes placed on poles or mounted on modern barns as long as the box is at least 3-4 m above the ground and safely out of reach from raccoons and other predators. Once Barn Owls discover a nest box it will normally be used every year.
Research shows that even a single nest box can mean survival for local Barn Owls and can help increase threatened populations significantly. The Richmond Nature Park, located only a short distance from the Garden City Lands, manages a Barn Owl nest box program with seven nest boxes installed around Richmond on behalf of the City. The three nest boxes located at Terra Nova Rural Park all reared young in 2014!
There is potential for at least one more Barn Owl nest box at Terra Nova and several other suitable locations have been identified around Richmond and earmarked for funding when it becomes available.