Farmers face challenges on a daily basis, be it inclement weather, insect pests, or disease that can attack crops or livestock. These challenges, while ever changing, are expected and common place. One unique challenge though is becoming more and more common place. Increasingly, baby barn owls are being found by farmers nesting in haystacks. Barn owls are cavity nesters and have become comfortable being around people; causing a problem when they nest in haystacks that need to be moved. One farmer near Kennewick, Washington has helped save the lives of hundreds of baby barn owls over the last few years. He didn’t do it alone though, that’s where Blue Mountain Wildlife comes in. BMW is a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation facility serving Eastern Oregon and Southeastern Washington. BMW volunteers work hard to rehabilitate injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife so they can be released back into the wild. Blue Mountain Wildlife director, Lynn Tompkins, encourages farmers to put up nesting boxes near where they will be stacking hay. Baby owls can then be put in the nesting boxes if the haystack containing a nest needs to be moved, allowing the parents to continue raising the young birds. Tompkins shares why she does this particular work.
TOMPKINS:. I have the opportunity to work with amazing birds every day that most people don’t ever even see up close. Of course it is challenging because they’re usually, you know, they have serious injuries, or serious conditions. It’s always rewarding to be able to release a bird.
Wildlife rehabilitation can be quite costly. On April 21 the agency will hold its annual Barn Owl Boot Camp fundraiser at the Richland, Washington Community Center. Attendees will be able to “adopt” a baby barn owl that will remain in the wild.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.