Sunday, May 24, 2009

Birds:A Winged Alternative to Toxic Pesticides.

A Tel Aviv Univ. ornithologist,Prof. Yossi Leshem from the Department of Zoology, replaces pesticides with birds to keep rodents at bay In the modern world, farmers use toxic chemicals to control voles, mice and other rodents that can destroy their crops. Unfortunately these chemicals may also cause illness in the humans that eat those crops. Now Prof. Yossi Leshem from TAU’s Department of Zoology has developed a proven method to keep these pesticides out of our produce. According to a recent story in the Jerusalem Post, Prof. Leshem is leading a national project in Israel that uses barn owls and kestrels, two natural predators of rodents, to help farmers exterminate rodents without recourse to toxic pesticides. Prof. Leshem and his colleagues built a series of nesting boxes to encourage kestrels and owls to set up their “homes” next to farm fields. He recently reported that the project is successful. “There are now 1,600 nesting boxes. One pair of barn owls can eat 2,000 mice per year when they feed at night, and the kestrels eat the voles during the day,” Prof. Leshem explained. “We may export the idea and teach it in African countries,” he adds. For more information about TAU’s exciting new project to save valuable crops and protect the health of those who consume them, see the full story in the Jerusalem Post here.
Birds replace toxic chemicals in ridding fields of mice
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Mar 12, 2009
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Abstract (Document Summary)
"So we sent in professional instructors to show them how to do it. There are now 1,600 nesting boxes - 500 of them used ammunition boxes donated by Israel Military Industries. One pair of barn owls can eat 2,000 mice a year at night. The kestrels, which are also willing to eat birds but prefer rodents, eat voles during the day," explained [Yossi Leshem].
As these areas are very hot in the summer, the predator birds were given "luxury facilities," Leshem told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. "They have double roofs and windows on three sides to increase ventilation."
Photo; TEL AVIV University zoologist Dr. Yossi Leshem shows Agriculture Ministry Director-General Dr. [Yael Shealtieli] one of the nesting boxes in which owls and kestrels are being raised to kill rodents that eat field produce. ..CR:Courtesy Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

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