Midfielder Jimmy, 66, renowned for having one of the hardest shots in football, volunteers with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Owl Box Initiative. He is putting together some of the 64 roosting places at his Hampshire home. They will be installed at farms across the county, plus in Dorset and Wiltshire, to help barn owls breed. The project is working with 100 farms, covering collectively nearly 100,000 acres. It aims to inspire farmers and rural communities to get together to help conservation.
Keen angler Jimmy, who scored 23 times in the league for Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s before joining Brighton, Southampton and Bournemouth, said: “Giving my spare time to the Owl Box Initiative has been great.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing pictures of the nest boxes up and in place, ready for new occupants, and getting feedback on how the birds progress.”
The trust said the project will help expand sites for barn owls across the South. It was given £123,700 for the work from the Government’s £80million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
A spokesman said the cash “will allow our scientists to build on existing barn owl monitoring work with local farmer cluster groups…as well as working with volunteers and young people.
“The project will also GPS tag a number of barn owls to identify their preferred type of habitat and track small mammals across farmland to understand prey availability.
“Jimmy is one of many volunteers helping the project, all working to construct as many barn owl boxes as possible. The Owl Box Initiative staff would like to thank all who have helped.”
Covid rules mean the boxes cannot be made in workshops and so are being built at helpers’ homes.