While walking in our scenic vineyard I paused a moment to inspect one of the many owl boxes. I scanned the area for evidence of any owl neighbors and as I looked up I was pleasantly surprised to see a moon-faced barn owl staring down at me from within the door way. Scooting back for a better angle I couldn’t help but smile as two other barn owls came into view.
At Ponte, we feel the owl boxes play an important role in working towards our goal of sustainability. The owl houses allow us to use the already existing ecosystem within the vineyard while simultaneously providing a natural form of rodent management. Certain rodents can pose a serious threat to the health of the vines and many vineyards spend a lot of time, labor and sometimes even chemicals to address the rodent problem. But by using owls as a free and sustainable method of rodent control, we are preserving the vines and building a more complete ecological community.
We recently installed Western Blue Bird boxes that create a nesting habitat for these native California birds. The addition of these gorgeous birds, which eat caterpillars and snails that can be harmful to the vines, will further contribute to the sustainability of our vineyard. So next time you are at the winery, keep your eyes open for our new blue friends!