a sighting report
The Barn Owl is
able to hunt at night in almost total darkness due to
it's excellent hearing which allows it to locate moving
prey rustling in open grassy countryside. This combined
with soundless flight make it the perfect nocturnal
hunter. Its large wings give it a buoyant moth-like
flight, as it quarters for prey very close to the ground.
Sometimes a barn owl will hover momentarily before
plunging down onto its prey talons ready for the kill
which is usually swallowed whole.
- Research has
shown that Barn Owls have a preference for the
short tailed vole, or field vole as it is often
called and this is the reason why the habitat is
so important - the right habitat for this vole is
prime hunting ground for barn owls. Shrews and
wood mice are also commonly taken. House mice,
young rats, sparrows and starlings are caught
too. In some areas frogs constitute a significant
part of the diet in spring. A family of two
adults and their young owlets may consume over
1,000 rodents during their three-month nesting
period. No wonder the barn owl is often referred
to as a farmers friend.
- All images © Ian Philip
Jones, no permission to use any of them is implied.