Welcome to our site

Three Owls Bird Sanctuary & Reserve is a Registered Charity (No. 298352), which has been helping wild birds for the last SIXTY-TWO years, since being founded in 1962. It is affiliated to the Jean Sainsbury Animal Welfare Trust.

For most of that time, it has been a wild bird hospital, sanctuary, and nature reserve, now for just over a decade has taken on more of a conservation and education role which helps wild birds and the general public in the following ways;

1. It provides habitat and sanctuary in our eight nature reserves; The Home Reserve, Norden of 3 acres, Three Owls Wood, Tarleton of 7.5 acres, Three Owls Field Reserve, Wigton of 2 acres, Three Owls Meadow Reserve, Banks of 2 acres, and Three Owls Watermeadow Reserve, Wigton of 6.25 acres, Three Owls Old Beech Wood, Mere Brow of 5 acres, Three Owls Marsh Reserve, Banks of 3.5 acres, and Three Owls Doctors' Rest Reserve, Banks of 15 acres.

      2. We run a Helpline giving advice to anyone finding a wild bird in distress. In 2011 we gave out 20,565 minutes of advice in 5,046 calls. By 2012 this had increased to 25,305 minutes of advice in 6,281 calls, and in 2013 was 22,757 minutes of advice in 5506 calls; each year saving many hundreds of bird lives along the way. Advice is also available and freely given via our text and email facility. The Helpline was upgraded to an android handset in 2014, and we sadly lost the detailed data-recording facility of the former business phone, but nevertheless, the Advice Helpline remains a much-used facility of Three Owls. The trustees collectively have over 100 years of wild bird knowledge and experience to share.

      3. There are several ways in which we provide an educational resource through our Website. Here you can find out the best way to help birds in your local area, whether it is for finding an injured or orphaned bird in distress, by choice of food for different species, or even building a nestbox.

        There are also some common questions and answers, which are often asked, including how to find your local bird rescue/sanctuary.

      4. We make grants to established organisations helping wild birds.

In 2010 we distributed over £21,200 in grants, and £96,500 of equipment to help save wild birds lives.

In 2011, further grants were made totalling over £15,000, and in 2012 over £30,000 was distributed; each grant meaning that precious wild bird lives are being saved, protected and enhanced. In 2013 we were able to make further grants totalling £14,000. In 2014 we purchased the 6.25 acres of land at Wigton to set up our Watermeadow Reserve, and in 2015 we distributed grants totalling £26,000. During 2016 we started our conservation works on our latest reserve; Old Beech Wood. In 2020 we made grants totalling £33,000 in order to help other wildlife charities survive the Covid Pandemic income shortfall. In 2021, we were able to purchase land to create both the Three Owls Marsh Reserve, AND the Three Owls Doctors' Rest Reserve - both sited in Banks. The latter includes an area which we have been renting and have already created a very successful barn owl habitat, which we know has already both saved and enhanced the lives of these endangered birds in the wild. During the same year, grants totalling £25,000 were given out; so many organisations have been severely impacted by the Pandemic not only with huge shortfalls in income, but also in restrictions and reductions in staffing and volunteers. We have continued to assist wherever we can.

The giving of grants ensures the work of saving wild birds lives covers as large an area as possible. Three of the organisations to benefit recently were The Barn Owl Trust, Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue Trust, and Meltham Wildlife Rescue.

Our Grants Program, and work on the Nature Reserves are only able to function due to the extremely generous gifts we receive through donations and legacies. No gift is too small, and both Three Owls and the organisations we are able to offer both financial and practical help to - are extremely grateful to you all for this ongoing support.

Please Note that there are no bird hospital facilities at the Rochdale, Tarleton, Banks, or Mere Brow reserves, and public access on these reserves is only available by special arrangement with the Trustees. There are bird hospital and rehabilitation facilities alongside our Wigton reserves, which are managed by Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue Trust.

Three wildlife hospitals admitting birds from Greater Manchester are; Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Rescue in Knutsford, Meltham Wildlife Rescue in Holmfirth (currently full and not admitting new casualties), and a new RSPCA Wildlife Unit at Hollingworth Lake in Rochdale. To check for other sanctuaries and rescues local to you, click here to use a countrywide search facility through a number of sites. Note that during the summer months, some of the mammal rescues may also do small bird rescues, so it may be worth contacting them too if your local bird rescue is full. However, please note that Three Owls does not endorse any of these sanctuaries - it is up to you to decide if they are suitable for the wild bird or animal you have in need of care.

How to contact us:

E: info@threeowls.co.uk

Helpline (calls, text, WhatsApp): 07973 819389

Postal address:

Three Owls Bird Sanctuary & Reserve; Wolstenholme Fold; Norden; Rochdale; Lancashire; OL11 5UD

[NB There are no hospital facilities at this address]


Three Owls is entirely run by volunteers. This means none of your donations are lost on salaries, and all of the money raised can go directly to benefit wild birds.

Donations are always welcome, no amount is too small, and all are very much appreciated.

Ways To Donate : Please make cheques/P.O. payable to; “Three Owls Bird Sanctuary & Reserve”, thank you.


We have our own online shop where you can purchase items specific to Three Owls.


Wild Bird Advice and information

Many people would help birds more, if they knew simple easy ways in which they could help wild birds, without going to too-much extra trouble. Often there are ways to help – that don’t actually ‘cost’ anything at all, but can make a huge difference to making birds welcome and safe in the environment around us.


One of the main causes of bird injuries (espec

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