How to help the Owls and Farmers

By: Kayla Thompson

Background Information

Barn owls have been found dead due to the eating of soybeans. Farmers have been dealing with a mice problems on their farms. Their bright idea of trying to get ride of this problem is to poison these mice so they'll die. But what the farmers didn't think about is that other organisms eat these mice. So, since the mice are poisoned, the owls are too.

Police Report of Three Barn Owls Found Dead

Morris Daily Herald

Police are investing the random death of three barn owls found near Channahon. The say that the primary cause of death was by poisoning.
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Mice Eat Grain Crops

Farm Bureau

It was that time of the season where farmers are starting to grow their soybeans. But they have noticed that some mice have made their way through and attacked their crops. To fix this situation the farmers decided to bait their fields; from 30 to 100 percent of their land.
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Research Shows

Owl Pellets

The item that investigators will be looking at is the owl's pellets. An owl pellet is the owl's throw up. So, by looking at an owl pellet can determine what it ate. And, by looking at what it ate can help figure out, why these owls were dying. For example, some think that bio-magnification has something to do with this problem. Bio-magnification is when an organism digest some type of toxin, then gets eaten by another organism, increasing the toxins affect. So, if farmers are trying to get rid of their mice problem with a toxin, there is a great chance that these owls are also getting harmed. Because, a mouse is a big part of the owls diet.

The question is "What Can We Do?"


The average biomass of prey eaten by barn owls per day is 179.06. And, the average number of prey eaten by a barn owl is 5. 78. In the research that I've found shows that there were 14 pellets and in total a number of 45 jaws of a vole were found. In average 3.21 jaws per pellet. So, this proves that barn owls do eat mice regularly. And, so if the mice that these owls eat are being poisoned, then the owls will later be poisoned too. A simple solution to this problem is to get a nontoxic replant to spray on the plants . Thus, it'll be fine for the plant and animal, so no more killing.