Agriculture/ Environment

Owls are our friends and protector of food crop

Barn owl swooping - Tyto alba

 

 

Did you know that owls are our friends and saves us from food loss? Did you know owls or night birds are real pest control agents?  Well, owls does scare us with their large bright eyes in a dark night. But, did you know that the pests that destroy our crops, reduce our harvests of grains, eat up our food can be reduced by allowing owls to live in harmony with us?

Barn owl swooping in the sky

Owls are our nocturnal friends

Mythology of Owls

Owls are one of the ancient vertebrate egg laying species of birds. Owls are distinguished by the possession of a spinal column and feathers. The scientific name of owl is Athene noctua. It consists of 200 species of the order of animal world Strigiformes. Owls are both considered symbols of evil and fortune. Owls are regarded as signs of ill health, bad luck or death in Kenya.  The Roman legends believe it’s sound and presence as an impending calamity. In Greek mythology, the bird is a symbol of virgin Goddess and good fortune. As owls are nocturnal or night birds modern day people believe that owls are related to the moon,  also a sign of femininity and fertility. In the Western world the curio of owls are kept to symbolize wisdom and intelligence. So to many of us owls are our friends kept in homes as decoration pieces. But today we want to look at this sharp bird with binocular vision as creatures that benefit human beings in far more ways to convince ourselves that owls are our friends. Yes, many of us did not even wonder owls had so many qualities that help balance natural habitats.

Food of owls are pests

The foods of owls are rats, mice, moles, squirrels, lizards, rabbits and birds. Owls also eat insects and attack big animals. These animal species often destroy food grains, fruits, vegetables and even seedlings. As owls are hunters of these animals, they eat and attack to live on them.   They therefore reduce the harmful animals and protect the foods of human beings.

Owls are carnivores that hunt during the night.  That is why they are called nocturnal or nighttime birds of prey.  Although they mostly see black and white, owls have sharp hearing and sense of sight. They have large eyes that can see creatures not visible to the human eyes. Owls therefore hunt and live on creatures that destroy our food crops. Therefore, the hunter owls are our friends.

Why owls are our friends?

Grains are the main source of food of human beings. So are these the food of rats, mice, insects, moles small birds.  In rice growing countries rats cause 10-20% loss of rice grain. Rats and mice attack vines and fruit gardens. Rats and destructive insects cut and destroy our food products from germination to the harvest stage. Many kinds of techniques are used starting from chemicals, traps, electric wires etc. to control the rats, mice and animals that reduce our expected harvest.  Owls attack rats, mice big animals and protect grains and fruits to the benefit of mankind. They reduce loss as a source nature has provided as a beneficial nightly bird.

Foods of owls

The foods of owls are rats, mice, moles, squirrels, lizards, rabbits and birds. Owls also eat insects and attack big animals. These animal species often destroy food grains, fruits, vegetables and even seedlings. As owls are hunters of these animals, they eat and attack to live on them.   They, therefore reduce the harmful animals and protect the foods of human beings.

Owls are carnivores that hunt during the night.  That is why they are called nocturnal or nighttime birds of prey.  Although they mostly see black and white, owls have sharp hearing and sense of sight. They have large eyes that can see creatures not visible to the human eyes. Owls therefore hunt and live on creatures that destroy our food crops. Therefore, the hunter owls are our friends.

owl catching a rat for dinner

Rats are a major predator of owls

The use of natural pest control in agriculture

Today, man is moving towards nature to control the harmful enemies. Owls are our friends because if not disturbed, they will not attack us. So why can’t we use them as our prey to destroy our predators? Owls can be nurtured and given a home to become even friendlier. Protecting our ecosystem by nurturing owls and letting our agroecological environment grow should be our priority. Owls are beneficial birds in an agroecosystem

How can we rear owl as a friend?

Owls can be reared and raised like any other birds to our benefit. Take the following steps.

  1. Find or buy a screech owl box as owls do not make their own nests
  2. Install at least 15 feet above the ground along crop field where rats, mice have habitats.
  3. It is better to place in bushy trees where they feel comfortable, so plant plenty of trees
  4. Know the breeding season of owl is from mid-March through mid-May so don’t destroy their nests
  5. Owls will naturally come if a cozy home is available
  6. To begin with, have supplies of food for the babies with chicks, mice, insects.
  7. As they grow most owls will hunt their preys
Screech owl box for inviting owls

Manmade owl box-to nurture our friend

Precautions

Despite the fact that owls are our friends in protecting our grain, fruits, vegetables, watch out that they do not kill our beneficial insects. Do not put barns where natural habitats of butterflies, bees, useful birds, grasshoppers exist because  these also protect your crops from other harmful insects. Keep children away from owl barns.

 

 

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