Dec 09 2014
Since Chuck Tague first posted this on Facebook, his photo of a barn owl near a white box has stuck with me. As odd as it looks, the box is the barn owl’s home.
Barn owls nest in structures — often in barns — but they don’t need entire buildings to make them happy. A right-sized hole and good interior space are what they look for when they’re ready to nest. If you can satisfy their needs with a smaller structure the owls will make it home.
As barn owls declined due to habitat loss, wildlife agencies across the U.S. worked to restore their populations by installing barn owl nest boxes. This modern-looking box, designed and sold by Pittsburgh-based Barn Owl Box Company, was installed at Lake Apopka Restoration Area in Orange County, Florida.
The boxes are also popular with farmers and vintners who’ve learned that barn owls are a great alternative to poison rodent control. The owls are tolerant of humans, tolerant of each other (no fights), breed like crazy at successful sites, and focus their hunts on the highest density rodent locations. Lots of rodents lose their lives to feed the baby owls.
Click on this link to watch an America’s Heartland video of owls patrolling California vineyards where they’ve installed these modern homes. As they say on the video webpage, “The next time you raise a glass of fine wine, you might want to thank an owl .”
(photo by Chuck Tague)