At the vineyards, they know their conservation actions support essential services for their vineyards like pest control from birds. Barn Owls are encouraged with nest boxes, and hawks with perches, making rodents much less of a problem. Western Bluebirds are supported with nest boxes too and they will likely help keep Sharpshooter numbers down.
Besides boxes and perches providing this structural habitat, 80% of the land is conserved in vegetative habitat—native oak woodlands, grasslands, and chaparral—which provide other food sources for the birds to feed their young during nesting season, and to feed themselves other times of the year.
These natural landscapes also provide Barn Owls and Western Bluebirds with what they need—more foraging habitat than the vineyard itself—which ensures better nest box occupancy. With large parts of the estate dedicated to nature, safe wildlife movement corridors are present and the watershed’s health is protected.
Breanna Martinico, Ecology PhD Student at UC Davis, outlines some important points to remember when installing Barn Owl boxes on farms:
- Make sure boxes have predator guards, and sun shades in hot areas
- Place boxes on poles and have openings facing the East
- Keep boxes away from busy roads, wooded areas and rodenticides