Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has backed a nesting project for barn owls - one of the most endangered species in Northern Ireland.
There are thought to be less than 30 to 40 breeding pairs left in the province, with the main reason for decline being the loss of suitable feeding and nesting sites.
“In order to enhance our parks and open spaces for barn owls our staff have specially chosen three sites in the borough as potential barn owl habitat and have installed three custom built barn owl nest boxes,” said MEA Mayor, Cllr Audrey Wales.
“The boxes have been installed at Eden Allotment Gardens Carrickfergus, Diamond Jubilee Wood Whitehead and Ecos Nature Park, Ballymena.”
Local schools Eden Primary, Kilcoan Primary and Ballykeel Primary helped out with the project, with pupils learning all about barns owls and helping to build the nest boxes.
These three sites all offer rough grassland near the edges of watercourses, with good rodent populations and so provide ideal hunting habitats.