How can I help barn owls?
Although barn owls are widespread around the world, their numbers have been decreasing. This population drop is mostly due to the use of rodenticide (poison that kills rats, mice, and other rodents). When owls eat live, poisoned prey, they can become very ill and die. It takes a little more work, but there are dozens of ways to get rid of common pests without endangering wild owls and other raptors.
How can I create habitat that is owl-friendly?
Owls love trees — especially ones with holes — for nesting. If you have a large tree without holes, you can put up a nest box. A barn owl’s hunting range is about 2 miles. So consider whether there is fresh water and plenty of prey available. They are sensitive to disturbance and noise from predators – including you, your pets, and motorized sounds. If you want to make a habitat that’s friendly to owls, consider what steps you’d like to take to make it more friendly.
What should I do if I find a baby owl on the ground?
If you don’t see the parent, don’t assume that the owlet is hurt or abandoned. Do not approach the owlet. Baby birds spend a short part of their life on the ground. This is a normal part of the life cycle. The parent is always nearby, watching you, waiting for you to leave so they can resume feeding their young and teach it to survive. For more information about what happens when people “rescue” baby owls, read this thorough, honest article from Owl Rehabilitation Research Foundation in Ontario, Canada.
What can people do if they find an injured owl?
If you find an injured owl (that can’t fly or is bleeding), approaching it is likely to cause it to become more alarmed and attempt escape. Your best action might be to call your county sheriff (not 911), Fish and Wildlife office, or other government authority so that a professional can assist it. This article from The Owl Pages describes what to do if help is not immediately available.
What I can to to prevent injury to owls?
According to several sources, the most common predator of the barn owl is the domestic house cat, which outweighs a barn owl by 10-12 pounds. If you have a house cat, seriously consider making them an “indoor only” pet. This is not only safer for owls, but your pet as well.
Another way to prevent injury to owls is to drive carefully – especially at dusk, at night, and at dawn. Countless owls have been hit by cars while flying low over a road, chasing a rodent.
Are there other ways I can help owls and their habitat?
One of the lasting ways you can help barn owls is to encourage the preservation of land so that owls have a place to thrive. You can learn more about habitat preservation from organizations like The Audubon Society and the Jane Goodall Institute.