Home
Photos
News
Links
Sofi Hindmarch, Research Assistant
Centre for Wildlife Ecology
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC
CANADA V5A 1S6
Email: sofi.hindmarchATgmailDOTcom
Phone: (778) 238-7380

BARN OWLS OF GREATER VANCOUVER AND THE LOWER MAINLAND:
UNDERSTANDING 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: sofi.hindmarch@gmail.com), the wildlife biologist working on this project.

Thank you for your cooperation in this study. Your participation is greatly appreciated.