The barn owl, friend of the farmer
The barn owl is one of the most attractive birds in the world, there is no doubt that the stories of Harry Potter or inherited in Arab culture have played a major role in this regard. Sometimes we see it as a symbol of wisdom and sometimes we see it as a symbol of ruin despite its service to humans, as it feeds mostly on nearly 5000 rodents every year, at an average of 15 mice per day.The barn owl is considered a friend of the farmer, its presence suffices the use of insecticides that damage the ecosystem. Also it contributes economically by producing better crops in terms of quality and quantity, as it is considered a biological alternative for combating rodents in the fields.
Through a study we conducted, it was found that the numbers of barn owl were declining in the Jordan Valley (from the palestinian side). Therefore, we started the barn owl project in 2019, where we decided to start conserving it by installing nesting boxes in farmers’ lands. Furthermore, we worked on raising awareness about its importance for farmers, and call on the local community not to kill it because it is often regarded as a sign of bad omen.
In the year 2020, the success of the barn owl project was announced after a successful nesting season. Results showed a good percentage of occupancy in the nests reaching 60-70%. In many boxes rodents where observed that the owl stores in the nest after hunting. Furthermore, the success of the project was reflected in achieving a culture of conserving the owl by the local people.
Through the project we organize workshops to exchange experiences between farmers in the Jordan Valley and establish a network of farmers for continuously maintaining the nesting boxes. Moreover, we organize visits for different groups of the society to one of the nesting sites which later became an educational station.
Watch the attached video about the project. Available in English and Arabic