The Redwood Region Audubon Society will present an online program, âBarn Owls and Winegrape Vineyard Relations,â Friday at 7 p.m. with Matt Johnson.
Johnson will answer the question, “Can barn owls and farmers mutually benefit each other?” He will talk about the research he and his graduate students have conducted with barn owls in California grape vineyards, tracing the lab’s work to better understand a reciprocal relationship between farmers and owls. It will also summarize how farmers can use birdhouses to attract owls to their land, how many rodents owls kill and where they hunt, and how this relationship can be good for owls as well.
Johnson is a professor of wildlife habitat ecology at Cal Poly Humboldt, where he has taught since 1999. Johnson grew up in California’s Central Valley, earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife from the University of California, Davis, and a doctorate in ecology from Tulane University. His thesis research took him to the tropics, which sparked an interest in researching how birds and humans can benefit each other. He has a particular interest in agricultural areas, and after many years of research on insectivorous birds and pests of tropical coffee trees, he became interested in birds in California agriculture. He leads several graduate students at a time on a study of barn owls in wine vineyards, along with undergraduate assistants.
Johnson’s goal as an educator is to help students not only learn the skills necessary to become successful biologists, but also to foster an appreciation of how good land management practices can benefit society. both to people and to nature. As a researcher, his goal is to answer ecological questions that offer practical information to farmers interested in helping barn owls that can also help farmers.
To visit rras.org to get the Zoom presentation link.