California wineries use owls to protect vines instead of chemicals

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Wine growers in Napa Valley began to use nesting barn owls to control pests in an attempt to get away from toxic pesticides in wine making.

Barn owls are welcome in California vineyards, according to the Good News Network, which revealed that scientists have already started to study the impact of the strategy and that the results have been “encouraging”.

According to the nonprofit Napa Green, a trend towards chemical-free agriculture statewide is reflected in the tripling of organic vineyard acreage since 2005, with the number of organic acres having doubled over the past year. the last decade alone.

The barn owl is one of the most effective pest control in the world, found on six of our seven continents and capable of eating 3,400 rodents each year.

Matt Johnson, a professor of wildlife at Humboldt State who has studied pest control in vineyards, revealed that one of his surveys found that of 75 California winemakers, four-fifths of them deliberately invite owls to their property by building nesting boxes.

“We work primarily in Napa Valley, where there are over 300 barn owl nesting boxes,” Johnson said.

John C. Robinson, a local ornithologist, said Nature of the Bay Magazine: “You can literally put a barn owl nesting box right where you think you have a problem with small mammals, and voila! Owls will begin to use this area.

Johnson and his graduate students reportedly discovered that barn owls liked their boxes to sit about 9 feet off the ground, facing the sun, next to a poorly maintained field, and preferably away from wooded acres.

Scientists are now encouraging other winemakers to consider the decision by observing that using barn owls could be much better than using pesticides or trapping, recalling that not only is it a useful way to leave the species thrive, but also that the use of owls is a much less expensive form of pest control.


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