Posted by: atowhee | November 2, 2018


Here’s a letter from me that just ran in the McMinnville bi-weekly newspaper (it’s the only paper we have here):

Spare us the toxins

Recently, my wife and I visited some friends on their small ranch south of McMinnville. While we were there, they proudly invited us to meet their barn owl.
She was perched high in the rafters, overlooking and overlistening the area where hay and grain are stored — the perfect draw for rodents, who are the perfect draw for the barn owl. You couldn’t ask for a more helpful neighbor.

A single barn owl eats about four small rodents per day. A family of five would eat 20. And they are far less trouble than a herd of house cats.

This family’s farm is focused on livestock, so there is little chemical use. However, it is surrounded by industrial-strength hazelnut orchards. You can click here for a look at the many toxins used on Oregon hazelnuts:

Growers are advised to avoid a sprayed area for 12 hours, 24 hours or, in a few cases, even 48 hours. Who’s going to explain that to the barn owl? Who’s going to warn the owl that the rodent she finds staggering down the hazelnut row may be dying of poison?

I can only hope the barn owl I met finds enough prey right there in the feedway, and doesn’t have to go soaring through the toxic zone nearby.

One danger that all American owls share, if they get near people, is d-CON. It can kill predators as large as mountain lions, if they get into poisoned prey or a poisoned carcass. (

Barn owls are great allies in keeping rodents out of homes and crops. They need our help, not our poisons.

Harry Fuller


The letter can be found at this URL:–1541194474–31268–letters

Here’s my picture of that owl in his barn: bo-Holden

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