Art, Awards and Awareness

EcoSolutions Autumn Newsletter

World Owl Conference 2017

In September 2017 Jonathan Haw was fortunate enough to attend the World Owl Conference in Evora, Portugal. Over a 5 day period he was delighted by owl experts and their scientific presentations. On behalf of EcoSolutions and Jonathan presented a paper on “From Cures to Curses - Owls and their place in Traditional Healing in Southern Africa" and additionally, was a member on the Owl Education Workshop Panel. This panel consisted of members from India, Nepal, USA, UK and South Africa.

The conference ended with a strong call for further collaboration between the countries who attended and as a result we are now involved in a joint project with the University of Lausanne in Switzerland on foraging distances for Barn Owls (Tyto alba) in South African townships. The University of Lausanne are supplying telemetry to this study. To see more on this conference, to read his abstract or to view pictures from the conference, please click here.


Bat exclusion season is coming to an end

With Winter creeping in, bats are slowing down as they are entering a period of hibernation. As the days get colder, we at EcoSolutions put all bat exclusions on ice. Hibernating bats are particularly vulnerable to disturbance. Excluding them from their Winter roost not only makes them vulnerable to predation, but also causes significant physiological stress, which may be fatal. It is for this reason that we believe it to be unethical and inhumane to exclude hibernating bats.

Bats are on the look-out for hibernation sites, making the last days of Autumn an excellent time to install a bat box. If you already have a bat box, even if it is unoccupied, now is the time to have it serviced to get it ready for hibernating bats.

We are currently prioritising all bat exclusions - so to avoid waiting for Spring to remove bats from your roof, contact us at EcoSolutions to arrange a consultation. Art in Houston, Minnesota, USA

Last year, was nominated for a Special Achievement Award from the Owl Hall of Fame of the International Owl Center in Houston, Minnesota. In March 2018, Jonathan Haw accepted the award at the 16th annual International Festival of Owls.

Click here for the article "Caring for owls is a hoot" published in the Fourways Review in the 2nd of April edition about our future plans.

In 2017, learners from four schools in Alexandra Township created over 500 beautiful pieces of owl art. Their art has been displayed at BirdLife’s Bird Fair in September 2017, featured in’s Christmas video and now also brings a bit of Africa to the International Owl Center! Karla Bloem, executive director of the International Owl Center, has displayed the children’s art for every one to admire.



Click on the link to find out more about the International Owl Center.


Do you know who I am?

Township Owl Naming Project

Many children are brought up to think that all owl species have the same name. "Isikhova" in isiZulu is used to describe a Giant Eagle Owl (Bubo lacteus) as well as the tiny Pearl Spotted Owl (Glaucidium perlatum). has, over the years been changing this - a project that is history in the making. An Owl Naming Project!

The project focusses on giving common names to each of our 12 owl species using nine South African native languages. The project is undertaken nationally and involves several high schools from all over the country.

Students are provided with pictures and details of each of the 12 owl species which serve as a guideline for the learners during the naming process. The languages in question are Xitsonga, isiZulu, Tshivenda, Sepedi, Setswana, Siswati, isiXhosa, Sesotho and isiNdebele.

This project is being run in conjuction with by the Linguistics Department of the University of the Witwatersrand toensure that the names are linguistically correct. Some of these new common names will hopefully be published in future South African bird books and wil continue to teach them in schools across the country.

Owls and poison awareness campaign in Alexandra Township is collaborating with RATS (Raptors are The Solution) on a poster campaign that they are using across the USA.  We have translated these posters into four different South African languages (Siswati, Xitsonga, isiXhosa and isiZulu). The posters are displayed at bus stops, advertising boards, “spaza shops” and youth and educational centres around Gauteng.

To check out more stories on the work that we do, please visit our website and Facebook.



Join the Junior Scientist Club

Would you like to dissect owl pellets?

Firstly, what is a pellet? An Owl's diet is made up of rats, mice and small insects. Owls swallow their prey whole. Pellets are an indigestible material that owls regurgitate before their evening hunt. A pellet contains fur, bones and teeth of the rodents the owls have eaten. They are a great way to determine an owls diet and are used in scientific analysis worldwide.

EcoSolutions collects owl pellets from our occupied owl boxes across Gauteng and we need your help dissecting them.

Ask your parents to drop us an email at to see how you can become one of our Junior Scientists.


Servicing your owl box

Spotted Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus) breeding season is almost upon us. We regularly suggest owl box servicing prior to the breeding season in our newsletters and explain the importance of the service and its correlation to occupancy. Not this time. If you have an owl box and it isn't occupied, no matter whether it is an EcoSolutions box or a box you made yourself or a box you bought elsewhere, you should click here. Become an owl box expert and not just a person with a box in their tree. If you would like to go straight to servicing your owl box, it’s as easy as clicking here.


Other Products

The EcoSolutions store is filled with great eco-goodies for greening your home or office, gifts for both kids and adults and other green services as well as poison free rodent products.

Take a look at the Rodent Flasher®, a poison free and clever way to keep rats and mice out of your roof or garage. You can go straight to our shop here.




EcoSolutions Autumn Competition

EcoSolutions is running a competition to win a free copy of Duncan Butchart's book “Garden Birds in Southern Africa”. Its a great book and a must have for any aspirant garden birder.

To be one of the lucky 10 winners, simply have your owl box serviced and answer the easy question below by the 31st of May:

How many times is the word ‘owl’ mentioned in this newsletter? Send your answers through to

Good luck to everyone!


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