announces the results of protecting the barn owl in the Jordan Valley after conducting scientific studies of its food remains announces the results of protecting the barn owl in the Jordan Valley after conducting scientific studies of its food remains
9 October 2022 announced the results of the Barn Owl conservation project that took place in the Jordan Valley (the Palestinian Valley). The project began in 2019, and has provided valuable services to farmers in controlling rodents and agricultural pests.

The laboratory results showed that by 2022, 90% of the remains of undigested food in the birds’ stomachs was from rodents from farms in the region. This means that the project achieved its goals in conserving owls in Palestine and raising farmers’ awareness of the importance of the owls in their farms. also indicated that food remains including bones, feathers, and hard materials (which usually come out after digestion from the bird’s mouth in the form of balls that are called pellets), have been collected from the nesting boxes on a regular basis. Then these materials were analyzed.

According to the results, the main diet of the owl is rodents. The rest of their food consists of birds and insects. This indicates the abundance and diversity of prey in the farms, depending on the season and types of agricultural crops being grown. Also, the increase in the amount and diversity in their diet led to an increase in the number of owls, as well as an increase in the number of nesting cycles (by up to two or more cycles.)

Additionally, the success of the nesting season was also observed in light of the abundance of food for the young, as well as the diversity of their diet.  Different types of rodents appeared in the analysis, and surveillance cameras in the nesting boxes found that a pair of parents brought a large amount of prey to the nests. Most of the prey was not eaten by the chicks (meaning there is even more food supplied by the parents than necessary). also clarified that the increase in rodent hunting is an important role the owl plays. The owls are basically a “biological pesticide” for rodents. Therefore, the owl is considered the farmer’s friend because it feeds on rodents in the field, thus reducing use of insecticides. Owls feed on approximately 5,000 rodents a year, an average of 15 daily.

Palestine has contributed in promoting the concept of bird conservation in the region, and has linked the owls to the concept of sustainable development. Also through the project, the goal was protecting and sustaining the migratory swift and rescuing the golden eagle.

The project, which was funded by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, was implemented after conducting a comprehensive survey of the area, near the village of Duma, which is close to Nablus. The study observed the owls’ movements. As the owl was spotted in the area, supporting wooden boxes were installed in order to help owls nest there, and to increase their reproduction in the area.

In addition,  project valued and recognized the role of the farmers. Farmers helped in the daily monitoring of the owls. And the farmers' new awareness of the importance of the bird in the region, and to their farms, created an effort to protect them. In the past, farmers would kill or use pesticides on them. The farmers also learned that another reason for not using pesticides on the owls is because these products are damaging and harmful to the greater ecosystem.