Barn Owl – "Banshee"
Distribution: These owls are found nearly worldwide.
Size: Barn Owls are 14-20 inches long, have a 3 1/2 – 4 foot wingspan, and weigh about one pound.
Diet: Small rodents such as mice and voles make up the majority of the Barn Owl’s diet, with the occasional bird, fish, reptile, or insect.
Lifespan: Barn Owls in the wild usually live for 3-4 years, however there is documentation of a wild Barn Owl living for over 30 years!
Reproduction: Barn Owls, like most owls, do not construct a nest. Breeding occurs at one year old, and 3-10 eggs are laid in a tree hollow, cave, on a cliff, or in and on man-made structures such as barns, silos, and various towers. Incubation is conducted only by the female and lasts around 33 days. Young owls fledge at around 2 1/2 months of age but stay in the area until about 5 months of age. The breeding pair can lay another clutch of eggs, in the same nest, before the young from the first clutch have fledged.
Did You Know?
- Because of Barn Owl’s loud hisses, shrill screeches, and white plumage, they have probably been the source of many ghost stories.
- When food is scarce, Barn Owls lay fewer eggs or do not breed at all. In times of plenty, Barn Owls can lay a second clutch of eggs before their first fledglings have left the nest.
- A Barn Owl’s heart-shaped facial disc, which funnels sound into its ears, gives them the ability to discern exactly where a sound is coming from and allows them to catch prey using their hearing in total darkness.