On 24 August, Hommes et Territoires, a non-profit association working to support biodiversity in France’s Centre-Val de Loire region, carried out a project involving two Axereal grain elevators. “It turned out that the birds of prey we had spotted living on our Fléré-la-Rivière and Bel-Air sites offered us an opportunity to tackle some local issues and help protect these declining species. Calling in Hommes et Territoires was the logical next step, because in-depth knowledge of ecological balance is essential to this type of venture,” explains Gaetan Mallet, who led the project. Teams at the Fléré-la-Rivière grain elevator had spotted a pair of barn owls on the site. To protect the birds’ habitat and keep them away from the equipment, a special nest box was installed for them. The pair are now happily ensconced in their new home. They spend their time hunting voles and mice, thereby providing the site and local farms with an organic pest control service. At Bel-Air, there was a need for a natural solution to regulate the pigeon and crow populations. By happy coincidence, a peregrine falcon had been sighted in the area. This was the perfect opportunity to build a cosy nest, high up on the buildings, for him too. So it’s a win-win partnership between the birds and the cooperative !