Size: Length (34cm/13.5inches) wingspan (85-93cm/33-37inches)
Status: 3-4000 pairs (still declining)
Habitat: Low lying arable & coastal areas, farms and forest edges.(Europe).
Reproduction: 3-11 eggs from March-August. 33 day incubation
Diet: Short tailed field voles, mice, shrews, some small birds & bats
Barn owls do not ‘hoot’. They make a chilling shriek! Their numbers have declined 79% in just 50 years. Pesticides, barn conversions & loss of habitat are to blame. A family of barn owls will eat over 1000 rodents in the breeding season!
Barn Owls are known as the ‘ghost owl’. Often living around churchyards and graveyards, they cut a ghostly figure. Sometimes they even glow in the dark. Illuminous bacteria from rotting wood sticks to their feathers. Scary or what!
Barn Owls have often been regarded as a bird of ill omen. Impending death and disaster being among them. Adding to this it has a spine chilling call! Not a lovely hoot like many of the other owls.
Barn Owls are not well suited to our climate. With small bodies and super soft feathers, the cold and rain can be very bad for Barn Owls. They are much better suited to a desert environment. They also do not put on weight for the winter. Harsh weather can be disastrous.
The heart shaped facial disk is perfect for channelling sound to the huge ears. The ears are assymetrical not symmetrical like ours. This aids in pinpointing the slightest noise from its prey, then a little hover, talons out and pounce!
Barn Owl numbers have dropped 79% in just 50 years. Barn conversions, pesticides and road casualties being a major factor. They are heavily protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but still need lots of help. Supporting rehabilitation and conservation projects is down to you!
Barn Owls are often introduced into fruit plantations to act as a natural pest controller! Mice and especially rats are kept down due to this silent predator.
Barn Owls do not build nests. However they do make a kind of bedding to lay their eggs on. The pellets they produce are regurgitated in the nest area. Once dried and broken down they have a lovely warm soft bedding of fur!
Barn Owls produce some of the largest pellets in relation to the size of their bodies. If you were to do the same you would cough up something the size of a marrow each morning!