Letter: Townie's owl view

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The Independent Online
Sir: Roy Porter's comments ('Frankly we don't give a hoot for barn owls', 19 October) might impress some fellow townies and lovers of the concrete jungle, but this anti-rural spleen does not fool those who better understand the countryside.

The article has two factual errors. The decline of the barn owl is not largely due to barn conversions to 'bijou dwellings'. Though obviously such loss of roosts and nest sites is indeed a threat, it is not the main one which is the loss of rough grasslands supporting populations of the small mammals on which the owls prey.

Sadly the witty headline is wrong too. Barn owls never hoot] Yours faithfully, A. PAUL BELL Market Drayton, Shropshire 19 October

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