Bird Of The Month - Barn Owl

barn owl

Image taken using a Green Feathers Bird Box Camera

 

Barn Owl  Tyto Alba 

Length: 30-40cm 

Wingspan: 80-100cm 

Weight: 250-500g 

Average Lifespan: 2-5 years 

 

One of Britain's favourites: The Barn Owl is an elegant hunting machine that win's the hearts of millions of wildlife lovers. They have the classic, quintessential look of an owl, and have made their way into Hollywood films such as Harry Potter and Legends of the Guardians. 

barn owl flying

How to spot them: While it can be tricky to spot Barn Owls during the day, by waiting for a still, calm dusk/evening, you may be able to spot one. Their incredible ability to fly silently makes it unlikely that you will hear one, so look for an owl shaped shadow...

barn owl looking directly at the camera

What do they feed on? Being birds of prey, barn owls feed on small mammals such as mice and voles. 

mouse

Hunting Ability: The Barn Owl is one of the most elite predators in the UK. Their adaptations allow them to have a high success rate when it comes to hunting small mammals at night. Listed below are just some of their amazing adaptations:

  • Flexible Neck - Unlike humans and most other mammals, owls cannot move their eyes, however, they are able to rotate their neck up 180 degrees allowing an excellent field of vision.
  • Long Toes & Sharp Talons - Their feet are perfectly designed for catching and gripping on to prey.
  • Great Hearing - Barn Owls have an incredible ability to detect sound waves created by their prey. They will usually glide back and forth about 5 -10ft above a field listening out for sounds made by potential prey.
  • Noiseless Flight - Thanks to their low wing-loading (low body weight to wing size ratio), and their soft feathers, they're able to fly through the air making almost no sound, allowing them to fly undetected by prey.

barn owl flying with it's talons out, ready to catch prey

Nesting: While a barn owl box is perfect for nesting, you would commonly find them taking shelter in the eaves of barns (hence the name), and other large and dark buildings. 

barn

Fledging: By the age of around 10 weeks, young barn owls fledge and look like full grown adults. For the first couple of flights, the parents will teach them to hunt until they are completely self-sufficient. 

baby barn owl chicks

If you're interested in potentially seeing one of these magnificently stealthy birds for yourself, then check out our range of bird box and wildlife cameras: Green Feathers.co.uk


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