NEWS RELEASES

BARN OWL RESCUE PROGRAM

In our work with the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, Vulcan employees learned about the ecological importance of another important species, the common barn owl. While the barn owl is not federally protected, it was clear to Vulcan that such a magnificent bird required care and protection to ensure that the health of the area ecosystem would be maintained for future generations. From this appreciation, Vulcan's "Barn Owl Rescue Program" was born.

 

Through the Barn Owl Rescue Program, nesting barn owls are not only protected and rescued, but our team also ensures that the site and surrounding areas continue to provide adequate, natural supplies of food, water and space.

 

The need for a rescue plan occurred on the day we discovered that a mother barn owl had built her nest in our active mining area. We retained a barn owl expert who came to the site and confirmed that we had a mother and four eggs. We stopped mining operations in the area to protect the owls until they hatched. Several weeks later, when they hatched, the expert carefully removed the hatchlings using a special net. She determined that we had four healthy hatchlings that ranged from one to two weeks old. The mother and the hatchlings were taken to a reserve until they were ready to be released back into the wild. Several weeks later, the experts brought them back to the area where they were released - with our barn owl rescue team, our fellow employees and their families looking on.

 

Since our program began, we have installed four "bird boxes" at protected locations on our site to provide the owls with the cover needed for safe nesting.

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August 2009