I read that the Barn Owls are so named because they moved from wild, originally purely woodland habitats to traditional English grain stores otherwise barns. the farmers conveniently left openings at the top of the barns so that Barn Owls would land before using the opening to get into the barn. Inside the barn, biological control went on with the owl feeding on destructive grain-eating mice and rats. I bet this form of control by far superceded the use of rodenticides which in many cases have just ended up killing the rodents’ predators-raptors including owls- up the chain Man and owl therefore had a cordial relationship otherwise precisely refered to as mutualism. This is beautiful especially because in many parts of the world especially Africa, owls are ominous and will be killed on sight.Those were better days!
The Spotted Eagle Owl, named an ‘eagle’ because of the gigantic size is one of the widespread and frequent owls but is now threathened with rodenticide poisoning. In South Africa, a decline from ringing 20 individuals to none or 1 is not a good sign at all as far as Owl survival is concerned. Yet this is due to rodent poisoning during which when the poisoned rodents are eaten by the owls, the owls die from secondary poisoning.
Below is a Spotted Eagle photographed in remote semi arid Rift Valley Province. I travelled from Nairobi to go see this resident owl, a 4-hour drive away. Not a very common subject.