Amid the vineyards of Napa Valley, Wildlife Professor Matt Johnson is "trying to find win-win situations between wildlife and agriculture," he says. By attracting and monitoring barn owls, swallows, and bluebirds, Johnson and his students hope to help farmers reduce rodenticide and insecticide usage.
Thanks to tiny GPS trackers on the birds, “we'll be able to pinpoint not just where the owls are hunting, but pinpointing where they're having a successful attack,“ he says.
By combining that GP
S data with DNA analysis of bird droppings and footage from cameras mounted on the boxes, the team can deduce where and when the birds are removing rodents and insects.
This ongoing agroecological research is funded by the CSU Agricultural Research Institute and the USDA.