[Tweeters] Re: Limits rats with Barn Owls?

mechejmch at aol.com mechejmch at aol.com
Sun Dec 2 11:47:30 PST 2007

For years, Barn Owls roosted and nested in one of the old warehouse buildings down on the Bellingham waterfront. I often observed 4-5 young birds each season, hanging out up in the rafters during the day, and I know that the main food source had to be the downtown rat population (four-legged variety).
With this in mind, I put up an owl nesting box on the alley side of our second floor apartment, hoping to provide a nesting option. After two years and several clutches of young pigeons(!), I took it down. Oh well, I did indirectly add to the downtown buffet for wintering raptors.
I've also had occasion to witness one Red-tailed Hawk essentially wipe out all of the rats frequenting one particular dumpster a couple of blocks away (lots of video).

You just don't know urban birding unless you actually live in the urbs.

Holiday cheers,
Joe Meche

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Gilligan <jeffgill at teleport.com>
To: MurrayH at aol.com; Dennis Paulson <dennispaulson at comcast.net>
Cc: Tweeters <Tweeters at u.washington.edu>; obol <obol at lists.oregonstate.edu>
Sent: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 9:44 am
Subject: [Tweeters] Re: Limits rats with Barn Owls?

Since Norway rats will never be eliminated from  the mainland of Washington, I suggest exploring the possibility of providing Barn Owls with nest boxes in areas with rat concentrations.  As I understand Barn Owls, they are not territorial  (or at least not very territorial) and will nest in concentrations where there is sufficient food supply.  This has occurred to me in regard to the rat population along Portland’s waterfront.  Perhaps in this way rats numbers can be controlled.  Additionally, if it is effect, it might serve as an instructive tool to the general population about the benefit of birds, and the maintenance of a balance among species.

On 12/1/07 10:30 PM, "MurrayH at aol.com" <MurrayH at aol.com> wrote:

Dr. Paulson:  Your posting came at the same time as an article in the News Tribune of Nov. 28th.  Evidently wildlife scientists are planning to eradicate the rats on the Aleutian Islands' Rat Island.  The muscular Norway rats typically have 4 to 6 litters a year and , according to the article, riddle the island with burrows, trails, droppings, and chewed vegetation.  They evidently feed on eggs and chicks of nesting puffins, auklets, and storm petrels.
        I don't know if it's verifiable but the Rat Island assault, beginning as early as next October, involves the use of a blood thinner causing the rodents to bleed to death   ??  Maybe O.K. for Rat Island,  but anywhere in our WA  Ports of Call? Can someone suggest what we can do?          
                                                    Hopefully,    Murray

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