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Bio-control Barn Owls

October 7, 2015

Bio-control Barn Owls

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Jonathan C. Slaght and Julie Larsen Maher Jonathan C. Slaght and Julie Larsen Maher

Owls are sought-after prizes for bird-watchers and wildlife photographers alike. And an innovative association is helping some owls — particularly barn owls — to prosper.

Growing ranks of farmers view their agricultural fields as a nexus of symbiotic coexistence, a place where owls and humans can live and work together. Globally, from Malaysia to Cyprus to the United States, farmers are incorporating barn owls into comprehensive, nontoxic rodent-control programs. In these programs, called “integrated pest management,” farmers install owl nest boxes near or among their crops and let the owls do the rest.

A family of barn owls can remove anywhere from 3,000 to 9,000 rodents in a year, an attractive solution for farmers worried about rodent-induced crop damage and disease.

Adapted from Live Science Expert Voices by Jonathan C. Slaght and Julie Larsen Maher.

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