Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 07:34:40 -0400
Reply-To: Wil Griffin <wilg@MINDSPRING.COM>
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Wil Griffin <wilg@MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject: dead barn owls, correcting myself
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Looking back at my post, I can see that I definately could have worded some things better. Sorry about that, all. Reading the letter, it seems that I am acusing the restoration group involved of poisoning the owls deliberately or something like that.
I had figured that somehow the owls had died as an accidental side effect of the restorations, or something like secondary poisoning. My intention was to point out that in such a situation special considerations do have to be made.
Here is a story of my own experience with barn owls, hopefully I can keep it brief:
My grandfather, now long past, had a farm. It is now long past as well. The land around his farm was also farms, but they were still in business. In order to adapt to changing markets these farms change as well. By the time in question, the farmland to his east was dug and flooded for catfish farming, the other three sides had gone into "game management". This means they fed deer and quail, then someone pays a lot of money to come hunt there.
They secured my grands permission to store quail food in his hay barn. Now, for I don't know how many years past my grand had a shelf up in the rafters of this barn. Most every year a barn owl used this to raise a brood. He put it up there for that purpose. He had a rat problem, and knew the barn owls were helpful in this.
The quail food was simply piled up on the ground, in bags or loose. The sides of the barn were off the ground, and the quail came inside the barn to eat. Soon after that, I discovered one dead barn owl in the barn, my grandfather found one out near it. Our assumption was that his neighbors had thought the owls to be a threat to their quail and poisoned them somehow.
I did know that they fed the quail inside the barn to give them some protection from the hawks (and they shot 3 hawks that I know of, I managed to save two), and so maybe the barn owls weren't much of a reach after all. Of course they probably had to poison the rats that were eating all that quail food, and the owls ate the dying rats.
Wil Griffin, No Effingham Co