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Hoot to Save an Owl

Willow Oak 4-H | Yolo County Status: In Progress Categories: Agriculture, Animal Science, Citizenship, Environmental Stewardship, Science Youth Leader: Katie | Age: 18

The Issue

There are many different species of barn owls found around the world, and many of them are experiencing severe population declines due to the use of agricultural poisons and pesticides and the building houses, stores, and factories. It has even gotten so bad in some places that they are considered a threatened or endangered species. Yolo County is one of the largest agriculture production places in California. With rodents being the biggest threats to the farmers, it is important that we get the overpopulation under control for the betterment of the crops and the farms. The infestation causes millions of crops to be lost every year and rodents are also high carriers of diseases that can be transferred to livestock, people, or other animals.

A single pair of barn owls can consume up to 2,000 rodents a year. When feeding babies that number drastically increases. Farmers have to spend more money on pest resistance, resulting in the amount for crops being more expensive. If the pests or poisons devastate the crop and make the production lower, there will be a higher demand and the prices will go up. With this owl living at in the boxes, the crop will continue to grow naturally, there will be fewer rodents, and there will be no harm to anyone or anything. Owls are something that I am passionate about and would love the opportunity to help them thrive in our local community. Because the increase in rodent population and the decrease in owls lately, there is a possibility that this can spread and become a state-wide problem. This action would be more of prevention action for Yolo Country, to make sure that this issue does not come into what I consider home.

How will 4-H help?

The main goals for this project are to encourage population growth; increase the amount of rodent control; teach 4-H members about the owls, their habitat, and their relationship to the farmers;  produce hands on nesting boxes that are entertaining and fun; and lastly, adding a beautiful addition to one’s garden or field. With the help of the delegates at state leadership conference, we will be able to produce the 15-20 owl nesting boxes. I will provide them with the materials and supplies they will need along with the instructions on how to properly construct the nesting boxes. With the two hour time period, we should be learning teamwork within the teams of 5, listening to the instructions, and the willingness to work for the good of the cause. The box will provide the owls a home close to areas that serve to their greatest needs. We are giving these owls a chance to repopulate by providing them a location to breed and grow as a group. This is with the idea that once the owl makes a home, the family can stay and continue to help the farmer and his land. These boxes are an ideal way to enjoy these creatures and provide them a suitable habitat for growth and life.