BARN OWLS OF GREATER VANCOUVER AND
THE LOWER MAINLAND:
RELATIONSHIPS WITH HUMAN LAND-USE
Understanding how land-use practices influence bird
populations is an important component of maintaining
the ecological health of these areas. Despite their almost
world-wide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in many
parts of their range. In Canada, the western subspecies
is classified as a species of ‘Special Concern’ under the
Species at Risk Act. In BC, they are found mainly in the
Lower Mainland and on southeastern Vancouver Island.
Many aspects of Barn Owl behaviour and ecology in BC
are unknown or poorly understood. Therefore,
Environment Canada in cooperation with Simon Fraser
University is conducting research to assess the status of
Barn Owls in the Lower Mainland. A key component of
this research is to determine risk factors relevant to
secondary rodenticide poisoning. Over the next three
years we plan to: 1) identify important Barn Owl roosting
and nesting sites in urban, industrial, and agricultural
areas in the region; 2) examine the magnitude of
rodenticide usage in those areas; 3) determine the diet
of Barn Owls by examining pellet castings; and 4)
investigate Barn Owl habitat utilization and breeding
success by radio-telemetry and nest monitoring.
To better understand the dynamics of the Barn Owl population in the region, we hope that you would be willing
to allow your property to be used as part of this study. Any additional information you might have about the
current or historical locations of Barn Owl nesting or roosting sites would also be very helpful.
We want to assure you that this is a research effort and is not linked to active enforcement activities. We do
hope to learn more about the potential hazard of rodenticides to urban wildlife, particularly owls, which would
lead to recommendations on how products can be used to minimize risk to non-target species.
If you have any questions, please contact Sofi Hindmarch (Tel: 778-238-7380; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org), the
wildlife biologist working on this project.
Thank you for your cooperation in this study. Your participation is greatly appreciated.