The Benefits of Barn Owls

One of our favorite “raptors on the job” is the barn owl.


Photo: Jerry Ting

We rarely see them because they’re nocturnal, and very quiet. But they’re among the best rodent-controlling predators we have, without any of the devastating long-term effects of poison.


Artist: Susan Powers

This fascinating three-year study by researcher Mark Browning shows beyond a doubt that “barn owls provide a highly effective, inexpensive and non-toxic alternative to other methods.” Browning notes that “over the first two years, the large population of owls took 25,682 rodents at a cost of 26 cents per rodent, versus a cost of trapping at $8.11 per rodent.”

By putting up simple nesting boxes as well as planting oaks, one vineyard created a permanent barn owl “residency” and are now watching their gopher population drop. More and more people in rural and urban environments are doing the same to control local rodent populations.


Photo: Dave Harper