Local authorities in Khirokitia area have installed 30 man-made nests of barn owls (Tyto alba) in a bid to reduce the population of rodents and other small mammals in a natural way.
Barn owls specialise in hunting animals on the ground and nearly all of their food consists of small mammals which they locate by sound.
Phileleftheros also reported on Friday that man-made nests serve more than one purpose – primarily, they help birds find safe and satisfactory nesting sites.
In this way, they contribute to the recovery of their population and return to places where they have stopped meeting.
In addition, they help efforts to promote the natural control of rodents, a method that is more economical and, most importantly, safer for human health. It is, afterall, free of chemicals and poisonous substances.
The diet of barn owls includes rodents, reptiles, amphibians, birds and small mammals. Scientific studies carried out in many Cyprus areas and overseas show that over 90% of their diet consists of rodents.
Each mature bird can consume four to six rodents per night but this number increases sharply if there are young ones to be fed.
Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Costas Kadis, who was overlooking this week’s installation of man-made nests, described the initiative as particularly important and effective.
He then warmly welcomed this pilot effort to install artificial nests in Khirokitia and other parts of Cyprus.