Carrie Wendt

Carrie Wendt - Holding an owl in a vineyard
Graduation Year: 
After Humboldt, Carrie went on to work as a partner biologist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Point Blue Conservation Science.

  For her thesis, Carrie studied the nest box and habitat characteristics that predict barn owl nest box occupancy on winegrape vineyards in Napa, California. Viticulturists have been deploying barn owl nest boxes on vineyards to assist with rodent pest removal for decades, but ecologists have not thoroughly examined this system. Her research aimed to answer the following questions: What local and landscape-scale habitat characteristics predict nest box occupancy? How does nest box design and orientation influence occupancy? Carrie's results helped inform vineyard managers on ideal nest box design and placement in order to maximize occupancy, and therefore the potential for rodent removal services. Installing nest boxes in suitable habitat may benefit barn owls by increasing artificial nesting sites where natural sites are limited. She also surveyed farmers to better understand rodent control practices and the perceived effectiveness of barn owls at removing rodent pests and mitigating rodent damage.