The little owl, who was almost extinct in Switzerland 20 years ago, has now been chosen as BirdLife Switzerland’s ‘bird of the year’ for 2021.
Twenty years ago, they were highly endangered with only 50 to 60 pairs recorded.
Thanks to the great conservation projects by BirdLife and others similar, this trend has now been reversed.
Even with all the good work, the association says that the birds’ numbers are still insufficient to ensure survival.
“This small nocturnal bird of prey symbolises the great successes that conservation projects can achieve,” BirdLife said on Thursday.
“It also illustrates the consequences of neglecting biodiversity in public policies related to land use planning and agriculture.”
These beautiful birds were once common in the orchards of northern Switzerland and only became rare in the last century.
This tiny owl measures at only 20 centimetres and in turn feeds on tiny prey such as rodents and insects.
Over the last few decades, millions of tall-stemmed fruit trees have been cut down and orchards replaced with buildings.
These are little owls breeding grounds which has effected numbers.
Over-fertilisation as well as the widespread use of pesticides have contributed to the decline of the little owls food supply.
BirdLife says it has chosen the little owl, with its “magnificent eyes and mewing call”, as an “ambassador for the quality of cultivated landscapes” and biodiversity.