Although various species of barn owls can be found around the world, many areas are experiencing severe declines in their population. Urban expansion, habitat loss, and the use of agricultural poisons and pesticides are a few reasons for their diminish. Yet, barn owls are a large charismatic species that have evolved the skills to live in a human modified environment.
Currently UW is spending thousands of dollars annually in rodent control, and the rodent traps must be maintained monthly. The incorporation of an owl box would be an inexpensive alternative to this costly maintenance. With a readily available food source and their natural ability to reside in an urban environment the only component left is a secure shelter. Nest boxes are relatively inexpensive and easy to procure. These boxes will provide an immovable shelter, and require low maintenance.
Through funding from the Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) and a big helping hand from the UW Grounds team as well as many faculty and staff, a box was successfully installed near the Grieg Garden. Four more are going to be installed in locations such as the roof of the Burke Museum, the Union Bay Natural Bay Area, and the McCarty Ravine. Though not funded by the CSF, two more boxes are planned to be installed in the new Husky Stadium.