October 7, 2015
Bio-control Barn Owls
- as seen by -Jonathan C. Slaght and Julie Larsen
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.