11. Barn Owl Conservation
Conserving barn owls is an important initiative in the years to come. Barn owls perform a valuable and natural form of pest control. Their presence not only reduces the sometimes abundant pests that multiply in farming areas, but results of effective nesting box campaigns clearly leads to lowering the cost and impact of pesticides in agriculture.
When nests are safe and prey is abundant, owls will hunt and reproduce with vigor, creating an army of pest managers! While increasing the barn owl population, research shows the decline of the most prevalent rodent, the pocket gopher. Their mounds were common between the rows of vines.
Surveys indicated a negative correlation between barn owl numbers and rodent numbers, with both populations experiencing seasonal curves. Importantly, the numbers of pocket gophers have declined steadily, never reaching the high densities that were present prior to establishing the owls.
STUDIES DEMONSTRATE SAVING OWLS GOOD ECOLOGY
Information derived from that three year study produced a great deal of date of practical use to vintners and farmers.
• ￼Very high densities of barn owls can be established within a season or two
• Barn owl pairs can be established at a density as high as one per 5.5 acres
• Barn owls favor nest boxes that face in easterly directions (NE, E, and SE)
• Dense populations of barn owls result in a significant decline in targeted prey species
• Barn owl and rodent populations may fluctuate from year to year due to a variety of factors
• High densities of barn owls in one or more years may result in fewer barn owls due to a decrease in the amount of prey present
• Harvesting rodents through establishing barn owl nest box programs is very cost effective since.
• Once established, barn owl populations are self-sustaining, barn owls create relentless pressure on the rodent population, and maintenance of nest boxes is minimal.
WHAT CAN I DO TODAY TO SAVE OWLS AND HELP FARMERS?
There are many ways to help barn owls and be a steward of their ecology. Kidwings supports The HOOT Project – Helping Owls Out Together, in order to install boxes in strategic locations around the Western United States. Since 1996, through Owl Brand Discovery Kits, we have installed or helped protect over 1,000 nesting sites for barn owls. Helping save their habitats is just as important as installing a new one! Contact The HOOT Project at their website to learn more about how YOU can make a difference!