Califonia Bountiful

Whoooo's watching over the orchard?

May/June 2015 California Bountiful magazine

Who are California pistachio farmers inviting into their orchards? Owls, that's who!

Farmers are encouraging owls to nest and live in their orchards as a way to control coyotes, which can do serious damage by chewing on drip irrigation lines in their "recreation time," according to American Pistachio Growers.

Coyotes are attracted to orchards where there are abundant mice, gophers and other prey, and owls are a natural predator of rodents. Owls' presence helps reduce the numbers of rodents, which in turn, creates less attraction and fewer coyotes, and decreases potential for damage.

Pistachio growers are building and installing "owl boxes," each placed high atop a pole to provide a healthy environment and safe nesting place for the birds.

This is one method of Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, that farmers and ranchers use to control pests in ways designed by nature. IPM supports wildlife habitats and natural ecosystems.

Learn more about responsible growing and watch a video of young owls in an owl box. 

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