A Coalition of Science-Based Wildlife Professionals
This orphaned barn owl was placed with a wild family in one of our BOMPs.
What is BOMP?
Why We Started a BOMP Coalition
In 2012, one of our founding Coalition Members began development of what was to be their Barn Owl Maintenance Program (BOMP). Their motivation for this was to find nesting barn owls with owlets, that could be used to foster the orphaned barns that were being admitted into their licensed rehabilitation center’s wildlife hospital.
With the sole purpose of trying to locate active nests inside barn owl boxes, they began a search that led them to find deplorable living conditions for barn owls occupying various nest boxes installed by a variety of barn owl box companies. While some of the boxes explored had a great box design, most of the boxes had a very poor design, offering only cramped space where owls could barely move around inside the box.
This owl box is too small, creating cramped conditions. As you can see in this video, this female is nesting on the dead remains of another owl.
Other boxes were unsafe and had not ever been cleaned out. Barn owls defecate, urinate and cough up large pellets inside the box. This is especially true for a nest box full of owlets. Because some of the boxes were either built using a poor design, old or falling apart; many of the boxes had damp and moldy debris in them. On many occasions, deceased chicks and or adults were found inside these boxes. In all of these deplorable conditions, the barn owl boxes were either abandoned or still being occupied despite these very poor conditions.
BOMP is an acronym that stands for Barn Owl Maintenance Program. A Barn Owl Maintenance Program is a program usually created by a professional wildlife group or individual. These wildlife professionals are expected to operate and have a shared commitment to function with the highest standards, ethics and use best practices in all Barn Owl Maintenance Programs. These programs were created with the intentions of supporting barn owls for any of the following reasons:
• To provide safe housing for nesting adult barn owls to raise their young, by only using barn owl boxes designed and built with the birds’ that occupy them safety, good health and comfort (click here to see our design recommendations)
• To provide the same criteria of housing for adult owls to occupy in need of rest and shelter because of habitat loss
• To maintain safe and healthy barn owl boxes year round to preserve for future use
• To educate our communities about the challenges barn owls face and what we can do to support them
• To facilitate scientific research to better understand the role of barn owl boxes in pest control and barn owl conservation (click here to go to our Professional Support Team)
• To advocate for barn owls using our professional resources in an effort to advance the health and well-being of barn owls (click here to meet our Collaborators)
• To consult with and make recommendations to people in our community who are in need of a professional resource to further understand the necessities of barn owls (click here to find a Coalition Member near you)
Our Coalition members listed on this website that run and operate their own BOMPs, may provide one or all of these services listed above. We can direct you to a certified BOMP near you, by clicking here:
Many of the boxes we serviced had damp and moldy debris in them. Although these conditions are unhealthy for the birds, instinct will drive them to nest there anyway. For this reason, it’s critical that annual maintenance be performed.
This led to the belief that there were few people who understood the need for maintenance of these boxes and it was found that the owls using the boxes must have been pretty desperate as they are natural cavity nesters. Some additional findings were that many of the boxes were in poor locations and were not being used or were also attracting predators that can predate on young and adult owls occupying these poorly designed and placed boxes.
With these issues in mind, they begin to try and find solutions for these concerning problems. It was soon discovered over a 6-year period, that there were not many people even aware of these problems, much less doing anything about it. But soon that would change.
One lucky day, this wildlife organization, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, found out about Dr. Matt Johnson, a professor at Humboldt State University, who had been doing research in Napa County for two years with his graduate students. They were researching the barn owl box occupancy percentages in vineyards and the mortality rates of owlets, hunting ranges and other fascinating research. It was discovered after contacting Dr. Johnson, that he had published several papers with his graduate students that had extremely valuable information from his research. Click here to see those research papers.
The other great thing that happened was that Napa Wildlife Rescue’s Board President, John Comisky, was interested in starting a barn owl maintenance program for his wildlife center in Napa. With much excitement, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue founded the BOMP Coalition in partnership with co-founders Dr. Matt Johnson of Humboldt State University and John Comisky of Napa Wildlife Rescue.
Their mission was to create a coalition of wildlife professionals with a shared commitment to operate Barn Owl Maintenance Programs with the highest standards, ethics and practices.
One of their most important goals was to help other wildlife organizations or individuals start their own programs to help provide a revenue stream to sustain the work and support other not-for-profit work that benefit wildlife.
All of the coalition members would be certified in and adhere to “best practices” provided by the Coalition, informed by science, and based on practical knowledge of the needs of barn owls. With these efforts and goals in mind, the BOMP Coalition could provide a valuable resource for communities to find the most experienced and reputable professionals that would help them provide natural and sustainable solutions for thier rodent problems, while learning about the wonders of the Barn Owl.
Executive Director-Sonoma County Wildlife
Board President-Napa Wildlife Rescue
Dr. Matt Johnson,
Professor-Humboldt State University
After a fifteen-year career in education, Ms. Duncan became involved in wildlife rehabilitation in 1997 at the urging of her young daughter. To support her daughter’s dream, Ms. Duncan and her daughter volunteered together at various wildlife centers in northern California. In 2000, Ms. Duncan was hired as the first employee of Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue and was subsequently promoted to Executive Director. She has served as a board member for the California Council for Wildlife Rehabilitators and the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee – an appointment by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. She is currently a member of Oiled Wildlife Care Network and International Bird Rescue Center’s Oiled Wildlife Response Team. In 2004, Ms. Duncan launched a pilot nuisance wildlife exclusion service – “A Wildlife Exclusion Service.” (AWES) She now mentors other wild rehabilitation centers to start their own exclusion service. Ms. Duncan especially enjoys hands-on work including wildlife rescues, oil spill response, designing and building wildlife enclosures, and working with other professional and passionate people in the field.
President of Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County. After over 30 years of experience in telecommunication, John retired to Napa. He joined Napa Wildlife Rescue (NWR) in 2015 first as a Board Member, than as Vice President, and now President, managing a wide range of roles. In 2017 John opened a photography business called John Comisky Photo – johncomiskyphoto.com. Long a passionate photographer, since joining NWR, John has focused on wildlife photography both in its natural element, and as it goes through the rehabilitation and release process. His photos attempt to strengthen the empathetic connection between human and wild, through capture of beauty and glimpses of soul in wild eyes.
A professor in the Wildlife Department at Humboldt State University. His expertise is wildlife habitat ecology, and he's especially interested in studying how agricultural production and wildlife conservation can coexist. He and his graduate students have been studying barn owls in winegrape vineyards since 2015.
Click here to see a list of our satisfied clients.
Check out the testimonials about our BOMPs.
BOMP Coalition Administrative Office and Contact Information
Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
PO Box 448
Cotati, CA 94931
Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
403 Mecham Road
Petaluma, CA 95452
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