1. Use traps instead of poison to control mice and rats.
These in effect wind up poisoning your local owl food supply. Some owls eat mice, some eat rats, some eat insects...and dying animals will always be easier to catch than healthy prey. Even if you don't poison these species directly, pesticides are still likely to work their way into the food chain. Recent studies have found that 60-80% of all Great Horned Owls have rodent poisons in their bodies! Check out this video from Raptors Are The Solution (RATS).
2. Leave dead trees standing when they aren't dangerous. Dead trees make wonderful nesting and roosting sites for many species of owls (as well as other critters.)
3. Use less paper and buy recycled paper. Paper is made from trees, and guess where most owl species nest? In old trees! Reuse paper that's only been used on one side, then recycle it when you've used the other side. Buy recycled paper to keep up the demand for it. Another way you can save paper is to stop getting junk mail, which most of us want to do anyway! This website has information about simple things you can do to get less junk mail.
4. Keep your cat indoors. House cats occasionally kill or injure small owls, but the bigger problem is that they kill a lot of owl food (mice.) This makes it harder for owls, especially smaller species, to survive where there are a lot of cats. Keep in mind that it's healthier for your cat to stay indoors for a number of reasons, but one of those reasons is that Great Horned Owls are known to eat cats! For more information about keeping cats indoors, go to Cats Indoors! Or visit our webpage about owls and pets.
5. Don't throw your garbage, including food, into ditches. This garbage attracts all kinds of little rodents, which in turn attract things that eat little rodents--like owls. Owls are often hit by cars when they hunt along roadways, killing or injuring them. An unbelievable number of Great Gray Owls were killed along roadways during the winter of 2004-2005 because they were hunting along roads.
6. Don't let your dog chase birds. When an owl kills a large prey animal it sometimes spends several minutes on the ground eating. During this time it can easily be killed or badly injured by a dog. Young owls just learning to fly are especially vulnerable to dogs.
7. Remove any unused barbed wire on your property. All too often owls get hung up in barbed wire. They either die a lingering death, are killed by another animal, or, if rescued, often need to be euthanized due to the extent of their injuries.
8. Only pick up a fuzzy owl on the ground if you know that it is sick, injured, or both parents are dead. Fledgling owls normally spend a week or more on the ground before they can fly. At this stage they have fully developed wing feathers and short tails, but the rest of their body is still fuzzy. Their parents are usually somewhere nearby taking care of them. If an owl does need help, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator immediately. DON'T FEED IT! Click here to find a rehabilitator in your area.
9. Put up owl nest boxes (or make artificial burrows) if you're in the right location. The type of nesting structure and location are very important choices to make. Click here to find out more about providing owl housing.
10. Habitat, habitat, habitat! If you own land, consider the needs of the owls who might be living there. Consider a permanent conservation easement to protect the land after you're gone. If you don't own land, support organizations that support habitat conservation
11. Support an owl rehabilitation/research/education center near you. Go to our Links Page for a list of some organizations that help owls. Some of these facilities give you the option of "adopting" an owl. Your adoption fee goes to help an individual owl, and in return you get a certificate and the satisfaction of knowing you helped make a difference in the life of an owl. A wonderful gift idea for owl lovers! The Global Owl Project is a worldwide effort to bring together and standardize research on all of the world's owl species. Financial contributions will help make a difference for owls on a global level.
12. Leave the responsibility of taking care of owls to trained experts. Many people think it would be fun to have an owl as a pet. This is illegal in the United States and many other countries because there is SO much to know to give the owl a good life. Owls require large cages, whole dead animals in their diet, cannot be housebroken, can be very noisy at night, throw up pellets, and most veterinarians do not know how to care for them. If you are interested in working with owls, consider volunteering for a rehabilitator or educator near you. See the Owls As Pets page on this site.
13. Consider becoming an owl researcher. There is so much that isn't known about owls yet, especially owls in tropical regions. For some species, virtually nothing is known even about their basic biology. Science doesn't have all the answers, but we need interested and dedicated individuals to help find the answers! Click here to see recent owl research presented at the 2nd International Northern Forest Owl Symposium.
14. Mow less of your lawn. Short grass is not good wildlife habitat, which means there will be less owl food there. Consider planting prairie or other native plants or allowing parts of your yard to be wild. This will attract more wildlife which serves as food for hunting owls.
15. Take down soccer nets when not in use. It is not uncommon for owls to get tangled in soccer nets when hunting at night. Sometimes they are found and released, sometimes rehabilitation is needed, and sometimes they hang there until they die.
16. For Halloween, only use fake cobwebs indoors. Small owls can and do get hopelessly tangled in fake cobwebs used outdoors. Sometimes they are injured in the process and need rehabilitation.
The International Owl Center advances the survival of wild owl populations through education and research. We plan to accomplish our mission through biological and cultural programs and displays, green building design, citizen-science and other research, international exchange of information, the World Owl Hall of Fame, the International Festival of Owls, and other means.