Facts About Barn Owls
Although the Barn Owl is found on nearly every continent, few people get the privilege of seeing one of these majestic animals. Introducing a Barn Owl Nesting Box to your property can allow you the privilege of witnessing one of natures most unique creatures.
Unique Facts ABout Barn Owls:
The Barn Owl is considered to be one of the most widely distributed birds in the world. A species of Barn Owl can be found on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Barn Owls are not territorial or aggressive to other Barn Owls. A pair of owls will nest as close as 1/2 a mile from another nesting pair.
Although Barn Owl’s have smaller eyes than most other species of owls, they have exceptional low-light vision. This allows them to accurately locate and catch prey by sight in low light conditions of early nightfall. Unlike humans, their eyes are stationary and the owl must move their head from side to side in order to have depth perception.
Though their sight is extremely important to the success of their hunting, their most advantageous hunting feature is their hearing. Barn Owls have asymmetrical ears; one is found higher on the head and points up, while the other is more level with their nostrils and point down. This asymmetry allows their highly specialized brain to accurately create a 3-dimensional map of their surrounds.
This allows them to pinpoint the exact location of potential prey and hunt with extreme accuracy, even in complete darkness. A Barn Owl can locate a rodent underground, or traveling under several feet of snow by tracking just the sound of their heartbeat. Another attribute that assists the Barn Owl’s hunting is their wings. The feathers on the owls wings are not waterproof, so they are more closely related to down than the average bird feather. This unique feature allows them to fly in complete silence.
With completely silent flight, the sound of their wings does not interfere with the locating of their prey through hearing or alert their prey that they are nearby.
Barn Owl Diet
Barn Owls survive mainly on a diet of small rodents and an occasional small bird. Their appetites makes them a useful tool for rodent and pest control. During their 3 month nesting period, a family of Barn Owls can consume over 1000 rodents. Unlike other birds, owls do not have a crop to store food.
They hunt and store food for future feedings, and the males may use their surplus of food to impress potential mates.
As adults, Barn Owls are solitary animals until they pair with a mate. They mate for life and become very emotionally attached to their partner. Barn Owls can often be seen cuddling with their partner and babies in their nest. They will mate to show affection to one another, although they are not actually breeding.
When one mate dies, the other becomes immensely depressed and wills themselves to die. They display a catatonic nature and die much faster than regular starvation or dehydration. In the wild, Barn Owls have relatively short life-spans, so they may only breed once or twice during their life.
If food supplies are low, Barn Owls will practice birth control and not breed until an ample food supply is available to support their family. Female Barn Owls can lay up to 10 or 11 eggs, but the average is 4-6. The female lays one egg per day and the babies hatch in the same order that they were laid. Both parents feed the babies, but it is the male who does the majority of hunting and feeding.
Barn Owls have unique ways of communicating to one another. They utilize a complex variety of chirps, squawks, screeches, hisses and screams to communicate with their partner. The owl will modify their original sounds to express their current emotional state to their mate and offsprings.
One of the most unique attributes about Barn Owls is their ability to make facial expressions. They have many tiny facial muscles that they manipulate to change the expression on their face. They use these facial expressions as part of their communication to their partner and babies.