Posts Tagged ‘Owl’

Barn owl – important and endangered …

Today is World Animal Day. With this post we want to arise public awareness about ecological and environmental role of one special species and contribute in their protection.

Birds of prey are important in the ecological balance; they scavenge and dispose of carrion, control rodent populations, and eat various pests that are harmful to crops. Owls that feed in agricultural areas provide benefits to humans by killing large numbers of small rodents which might otherwise eat crops in the field or in storage.

Barn owl (Tyto alba)

Barn Owls are specialist birds and highly adapted to suit their ecological role as hunters of small mammals in open habitat and low light conditions. Although small mammals are taken by a wide range of predators including buzzards, kestrels, cats, stoats and weasels (as well as other owls), none of these hunt in the same way as Barn Owls. The barn owl has exceptionally keen hearing and eyesight, making it a very effective hunter. It is said that a Barn Owl can actually hear a mouse’s heartbeat in a 30ft sq room.

Barn Owls are birds of open countryside. They typically forage by flying low over grassland habitat with frequent “hovering intervals” or by perching on fence posts and trees along field edges Barn Owls are found in open country such as agricultural areas, old fields and orchards, yet have a preference for pasture, sedge marshes and meadows. Prior to European settlement, Barn Owl habitat likely consisted of oak savannah adjacent to tallgrass prairie.

The Barn Owl’s diet consists primarily of small mammals, with a distinct preference for voles (Microtus spp.), shrews, moles, young rats, various species of mice, and occasionally birds, or frogs and large insects only if necessary. Estimates of adult food intake range from about 50 to 150 g/day, which is equivalent to 1–3 voles per day. It is estimated that a typical family of two adult and four young Barn Owls consumes about 1000 rodents during the 10-week portion of the year when young are in the nest.

Every Barn Owl’s home range is likely to contain a variety of predators that eat small mammals but none of these have an identical diet or hunting method. Although there is a good deal of overlap between species, there’s little direct competition because the Barn Owl’s ecological role is so unique.

Be aware that …

These helpful birds are, unfortunately, especially susceptible to extinction, partly because of natural evolutionary selection and partly because of human interference. Owls are, however, threatened by other activities of humans. They are exposed to toxic chemicals in forestry and agriculture, and this has taken a toll on some species of owls. One example is poisoning by exposure to the insecticide carbofuran, which is used to control epidemic populations of grasshoppers in prairie agriculture.

More important, however, have been the effects of habitat loss on owls. Urban, industrial, and agricultural development all degrade the habitat of most species of owls and other native species, causing large reductions in their populations and even their disappearance from many areas.

Help …

We are happy that in Macedonia there is organization which is taking care for the owl’s survival in the nature, preservation of their nests, offspring and hunting grounds. The purpose of  organization Macedonian Owl Trust is to facilitate the enlargement of the number of owls in our country by organizing activities for: mounting birds houses for nesting, implementation of monitoring of all recorded nests, feeding and tending of young owls with aim having them leave the nest in larger numbers.

If you want to help, too, now is the right time. This organization is in preparation for construction of houses for nesting which will be placed at various locations in the environment and help at preserving and increasing the number of endangered owls. You can donate wood materials (wooden boards or plywood) and tools and contribute in this process. You can find more information on Macedonian Owl Trust page.

 

We are part of event Blog Action Day : World Animal Day 2011

CELEBRATE animal life in all its forms by blogging, tweeting and hosting events to celebrate their magnificance and wonder.
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Friendship in the night …

On Saturday, 20.08.2011 I had the opportunity to meet Vodno mountain in a different light, or to be precise “without lights”. The organization Macedonian Owl Trust (MOT) and Dobra Voda-active for the second time organized night walk-around (starting from middle Vodno and climbing up to the Millennium Cross) and allow us to meet and socialize with three kinds of owls – Little Owl (Athene noctua Scop.), Barn Owl (Tyto alba Scop.) and Long-eared Owl (Asio otus L.).

I must say that this was my first contact with an owl. Because they are classified as birds of prey my first appeared feeling was fear mixed with excitement. Then came the admiration of the perfection of their feathers and curious eyes. Joy came when the bird stood on my hand and allowed me to caress her. Even then I realized that I actually do not know anything about them.

Those three wild birds were as real friends. We behave with respect towards them and they answered to all our wishes without indignation – they showed no aggression at all, they pose on our pictures, we were allowed to hug them, there was no problem going from one to another’s hand … as they were trying to show that our problem with them is in ourselves.

Night walk was an priceless experience. Motif more to pay attention to these birds. In the coming days I will write more about the lifestyle and the importance of owls. Your knowledge and experiences are welcome.

Let’s protect the owls …

Let’s protect the owls …

As we wrote previously, an important part of the Natura 2000 is Europa’s The Birds Directive. Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (this is the codified version of Directive 79/409/EEC as amended) is the EU’s oldest piece of nature legislation and one of the most important, creating a comprehensive scheme of protection for all wild bird species naturally occurring in the Union. Its was adopted unanimously by the Members States in 1979 as a response to increasing concern about the declines in Europe’s wild bird populations resulting from pollution, loss of habitats as well as unsustainable use. It was also in recognition that wild birds, many of which are migratory, are a shared heritage of the Member States and that their effective conservation required international co-operation.

I write this post in desire to emphasize great ecological necessity and as a warning of the possibility of extinction a very interesting group of birds from our region.

I’m talking about OWLS (part of the group Strigiformes).

Specifically, in ANNEX I in the DIRECTIVE 2009/147/EC among other bird species as protected are listed this owl types – Strigidae, Bubo bubo, Nyctea scandiaca, Surnia ulula, Glaucidium passerinum, Strix nebulosa, Strix uralensis, Asio flammeus and Aegolius funereu. Three of them, Bubo bubo, Strix uralensis and Asio flammeus, and living in Republic of Macedonia.

It is very important to know that the Republic of Macedonia has taken steps to protect owls through the legislation, too. Namely, the Law on Hunting, Official Gazette no. 26 of 24.02.2009, first in Article 3 defines “Game are certain types of animals and birds that live freely in nature or in a fenced areas that are intensively cultivated, breed, hunt and protect” and than in Article 5 states “Under the game in terms of this Law shall mean the following types of animals and birds” where among other species are listed:

116) Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo L.);

117) Long-eared Owl (Asio otus L.);

118) Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus Pont.);

119) Common Scops Owl (Otus scops L.);

120) Little Owl (Athene noctua Scop.);

121) Tawny Owl (Strix aluco L.);

122) Barn Owl (Tyto alba Scop.);

Under the same law “Game that is under protection: Eurasian Eagle Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Scops Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl” (Article 9, paragraph 2) and “permanently prohibit hunting: Eurasian Eagle Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Scops Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl” (Article 13). Also “Destruction and appropriation of offspring, destruction and scattering of homes, nests or eggs of game under the protection provided by this law is prohibited ” (Article 14).

What is not projected or regulated by any law is our consciousness, our way of conduct and care for own living place. This remains our responsibility.

Let’s protect the owls …

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