Sunday, June 28, 2009

Laos rat infestation could be good for owls

Northern Laos is experiencing the worst rat infestation in 20 years. This has resulted in massive crop failures and leaves thousands of people facing food shortages.

What to do???

Barn Owls are great eaters of rats, so the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is telling people to leave owls alone and not eat them, and to not practice slash and burn to save owl habitat. Trapping rats is only a short-term solution, and they don't advocate using poison because of the environmental impacts. Go owls!!!

You can read the full article here.

Bad Economy Is Bad for Owls in India

The economy is taking a toll on rare Barn Owls in India, believe it or not. Apparently some businessmen in northern India are sacrificing live owls in the traditional belief that it will bring them prosperity. To meet the demand, poachers are stepping up their efforts in the illegal owl trade, much to the detriment of the already uncommon Barn Owls.

Read the full article in the Hindu News.

One Tough Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owls have a reputation for being tough. Unbelievably tough. I've heard of them smashing through the windshield of a semi driving down the interstate, getting hit by semis and being pulled out of their grills hundreds of miles down the road...still alive. The stories are incredible, but true.

Here is yet another story to prove just how tough these birds can be. This particular owl had been caught on a fishing hook in 2007 in Burnsville, MN, rehabilitated by The Raptor Center, then released. Now she wound up behind the grill of an SUV. Yes, stuck behind the grill after she was hit in the Twin Cities. The wheel panel had to be removed to get her out so she could go through a second stint with the fine folks at The Raptor Center.

KARE 11 News covered the story. You'll find the video on the right side of the screen.

Owl Hall of Famer Helps Arizona Owl

Dick Clark, recipient of a 2008 Special Achievement Award from the World Owl Hall of Fame, made the news in May. He had been observing a Great Horned Owl nest on a large power transmission structure near Prescott, Arizona and one day found a youngster hanging upside down by one leg, 80 feet up in the air. Read the whole story in The Daily Courier.

It's wonderful to know that researchers like Dick care about individual birds as well as populations as a whole. Thanks to Dick, the good folks at Western Area Power Administration, and Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation for their roles in this dramatic rescue!