A New Owl Family

barn owlSince New Life was established in Ban Samanmit in 2010 one of the many changes that we’ve noticed over the years is … more chirping. That’s right, chirping. And tweeting (not the Donald Trump kind). The property on which the foundation stands was once barren farmland degraded by mono-cropping of produce such as rice and cassava. Since then, we’ve planted plenty of trees, vegetables, and fruits and nurtured the soil. Within just six short years, we’ve created an oasis of life within our borders. All kinds of creatures are enjoying the new lushness and making the foundation their home – hence the wonderful strains of bird song where there was once silence.

Our newest residents are a family of barn owls. At the end of last year our volunteers and residents built some owl boxes in the hope of attracting even more local wildlife to the foundation. Not only are owls beautiful animals, they are a great at naturally controlling pests like mice and rats, who just love our rice stores. One owl box was placed at the edge of the rice field, and another was placed in our teak forest. We decided to move the one from the forest, though, as we learned that barn owls prefer open spaces for hunting. The new location for box two was a big tree close to our Awakening Hall, with the door facing the rice fields.

owl boxThe owl box at the edge of the rice field, near life coach Adam’s house, was the first to be occupied. There were regular sightings of adult owls but no sign of owlets. We’ve now discovered that the second owl box has become home to a new breeding couple with six eggs in their nest. The tree also holds Zulu’s treehouse, but we’ve established a “no-go” zone around the tree so as not to disturb our owl family. We’re really proud of these new members of our community, and are looking into more ways to make the foundation more inviting to wildlife. Let us know if you have any ideas – the more, the merrier!

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