This past Saturday, I was pleased to host an event in Southland’s red barn at Earthwise Society’s farm to highlight Delta’s threatened population of barn owls.
The barn owl is a beautiful raptor and I have written about its significance to our area here. Speakers at the event included leading barn owl researcher Sofi Hindmarch, Wilderness Committee’s Gwen Barlee, OWL's Mindy Dick and Jen Picker (along with Alba the barn owl!), Earthwise Society’s Dave Robinson, Delta Naturalists’ Society’s Tom Bearss, and Boundary Bay Conservation Committee’s Susan Jones.
It was an incredible showing of support for this whimsical creature and I was inspired to see more than 100 people with their families show up on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to learn more. Each presentation offered a unique perspective on Delta’s barn owls and what can be done to ensure they continue to be a fixture of our agricultural landscapes. Barn owls depend on the protection of farmland and wilderness areas from urban development and fragmentation—an issue we know all too well in Delta.
You can find the short documentary film Silent Flight screened at the event below.
The film follows Sofi Hindmarch and her work on barn owl populations throughout the Lower Mainland. Sofi continues to do valuable research on the owl and is focusing on loss of habitat, road mortality, and the risks of secondary poisoning from rat poison. One of her more interesting findings is that barn owls are resilient creatures, who can nest in unlikely places – some have even been found in the rafters of airplane hangers, under highway overpasses and in hotel fire escapes!
The owl’s resiliency is one reason to remain cautiously optimistic. Despite a host of negative pressures on this threatened bird, recovery is possible – given both proper policy support and habitat protection.
You can find pictures of the event below. You can also find Wilderness Committee’s petition for an endangered species law in British Columbia here.
SILENT FLIGHT from Isabelle Groc on Vimeo.
Vicki speaking to an audience of interested citizens.
Speakers from left to right: David Robinson (Earthwise Society), Sofi Hindmarch, Mindy Dick (OWL), Gwen Barlee (Wilderness Committee), Vicki Huntington, Tom Bearss (Delta Naturalists' Society), and Susan Jones.
Susan Jones speaking about the pioneering conservation work of Boundary Bay Conservation Committee.
Vicki and Tom Bearss of Delta Naturalists' Society.
David Robinson speaking about the barn owl nest box program at Earthwise Society.
Mindy Dick speaking about OWL's raptor rehabilitation program.
Alba, the barn owl! Alba is under the care of the good people at OWL.
Jen Picker with Alba talking about OWL's outreach activities.
Sofi Hindmarch talking about her research on British Columbia's barn owl population.
Gwen Barlee talking about WIlderness Committee's work to protect endangered species in British Columbia.