Today, as the title suggests, I would like to talk about the relationship between owls and apple farmers...
We don't often see wild owls, but some of them have an inseparable relationship with apple farmers in Aomori.
Apple farmers are plagued by rodent infestation.
If their carefully grown apples are ruined, the farmers' livelihoods will be threatened.
However, research conducted by Hirosaki University and other institutions has shown that the number of voles in apple fields around nests where owls raise their young has decreased by more than 60%, and a paper showing the effectiveness of installing nest boxes that attract owls was published in a British scientific journal once.
Professor Nobuyuki Higashi of Hirosaki University's Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chie Murano of Iwate University's Graduate School of United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences and others have published their findings in the Journal of Applied Ecology, a scientific journal of the British Ecological Society.
The voles, which live in apple orchards, sometimes nibble apple trees to death in winter when food supplies decrease.
On the other hand, when the laboratory videotaped the nests of owls in an apple field in the Namioka area of Aomori City in 2001~07, they found that the parent birds captured up to 300 rats per nest to raise their young in the month between April when the eggs hatched and when the chicks left the nest. 80~90% of the rats were voles.
This is mainly a type of owl called Ural Owl (called owl in Japan)...
It's essential to have a secure nest and stable food when they are raising their young!
Even so, I can feel the love of the parents as the owls try their best to catch 300 mice for their chicks.
It's a win-win situation for both parties: the owls get food and the farmers get apples.
Of course, the farms where the owls live do not use pesticides, so they can harvest delicious and safe apples!
Just like overseas farmers and barn owls.
It makes me happy that there is an environment in Japan where owls and us can live close to each other!