What Has Happened With The Barn Owl Population?
January 26, 2015
I received this question yesterday from Nick and Julie . “Yes, we are also owl-less again this year. What has happened with the barn owl population? We keep getting invited each fall to go up to Irvine to our grandkids’ school to make a presentation, but all we have to show are the pictures and videos of several years ago. We would very much like to have live video feeds of barn owls in our box. Very disappointing.” Nick and Julie live in Rancho Bernardo, California about 20 minutes northeast of San Diego and southeast of San Marcos.
Let me start off by saying I have not seen one barn owl this year and last year I saw maybe two or three. Definitely not like when Molly and McGee were in The Owl Box. Barn Owls were everywhere; some nights we would see or hear as many as 10 or 15 in the area.
The number of barn owls like so much of nature is controlled by their food supply. Reduce their food supply and their population reduces. California is in the third year of one of the state’s worst droughts in the past century, one that’s led to fierce wildfires and water shortages and less food for wildlife thus fewer barn owls. Even the number of eggs the female barn owl lays is controlled by the amount and duration of food the male brings to her. This is nature’s way of balancing the ecosystem.
If you remember, when Molly was in the box we had lots of rain and plenty of food. We also had those that said owls don’t like water and couldn’t fly in the rain. Those were two myths The Owl Box cameras busted. We not only captured barn owls flying in the rain but playing in the water. Remember when Molly left the box and came back soaking wet on a clear night? She had left and taken a bath after being in the box for a couple of months taking care of her babies.
Pray for rain or do your rain dance if you want the barn owls to return.
All the best,
Carlos and Donna Royal
P.S. The dust bowl drought lasted for 6 years in Oklahoma in the 30’s and up to 8 years in some of the High Plains. Light rain is predicted for later today.
One last note: I am 72 today. Everyone have a piece of cake and enjoy your day. Life is a beautiful thing.