SIMI VALLEY – First falcons, now owls, thanks to a local Boy Scout. John Casselberry Jr. and fellow members of Boy Scout Troop 662 volunteered to set up owl boxes and perches Casselberry had built over the summer as part of his Eagle Scout Project to help reduce the rodent population at the Simi Valley Landfill and provide better habitat for owls in the area. John, 14, said he had seen barn owls in his Simi Valley neighborhood and wanted to do something to help them and the environment. “I hope the owls like them,” he said. “We spent a lot of time and effort on these boxes. There are no sharp edges, so the owls won’t cut themselves. I couldn’t have done it without my dad. When something got messed up, he knew how to fix it.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possibleHis mother, Brenda, called her son’s effort “incredible.” “This project has been a huge amount of work,” she said. “John has worked on it for about four months and built eight owl boxes and five perches.” The idea behind the project is to attract owls to kill rodents without using poisons that can move up the food chain and kill larger animals. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has urged agencies in the county to seek environmentally friendly alternative methods for controlling rodent populations. John’s boxes are designed to shelter baby owls from predators. They are made with observation doors on the side to allow for research and cleaning. More than 25 members of Troop 622 volunteered Saturday to help him set up the boxes and perches at the landfill, 2801 Madera Road, just north of the Simi Valley (118) Freeway. Scott Tignac, manager of the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center, said that beyond the pest-control services, Waste Management Inc., which operates the landfill, sees John’s boxes as an important way to provide shelter for baby owls. “Human-made nest boxes can make up for any shortage of natural nesting areas, enabling these owls to live in places where they might otherwise be absent,” Tignac said. ” … This helps to stabilize their populations.” In another bird-related project, the landfill for years has used falcons provided by a San Fernando Valley-based trainer to chase away sea gulls at the dump. One of several falcons provided by the trainer is turned loose at the landfill at various times during the week to go after the sea gulls attracted by the garbage. The owls are attracted by rodents and naturally prey on the little creatures, said Eric Rose, a Waste Management spokesman. They will help the company keep the rodent population at the landfill to a minimum. Among the owls that call Simi Valley home are barn owls, he said. They are small and white with heart-shaped faces. They hunt at night in open areas, seeking mice and other small rodents. A family of six young and two adult barn owls can consume more than 1,000 mice during the nesting season. “The owl boxes will provide important shelter to these beautiful animals,” Rose said. [email protected] (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!