Barn Owls, Agriculture, and Rodenticides
Project Lead: Emily Phillips
Barn owls (Tyto alba) may be an environmentally beneficial integration into the current integrated pest management (IPM) strategies currently used in agricultural fields. Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) have been shown to be a leading cause of mortality in barn owls in the Central Valley of California due to their main prey species being the target species of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). Most studies pertaining to barn owls and ARs are in post-mortem circumstances, and little is known about barn owl nestlings and their interactions with anticoagulant rodenticides. We are focusing on nestling growth in relation to ARs by taking morphological measurements of nestlings in nest boxes on agricultural fields as well as collecting their pellets to run a toxin screen analysis. Toxin screens on pellets for ARs have been used very little in literature, and this study may provide additional, non-invasive methods to use to further research on the interactions between rodenticides and raptors. With this study, we aim to find a way to integrate barn owls into the current IPM to increase pest control management.