Do you love owls as much as we do? Of course you do!
Are you ready to deep dive into owls with us every week?
We’re starting something new – every week we’re going to deep dive into an owl species, starting with our native species here in North America and then we’ll broaden it out to species you can find wherever you are in the world!
Today, let’s go over our favorite (but don’t tell the others that!) the Barn Owl!
Barn Owls are in a category all their own. Owls are divided into two families, Tytonidae and Strigidae. Barn Owls make up the Tytonidae family. They have heart-shaped faces, dark eyes, and have light coloring on their fronts, and a darker, golden brown coloring on their back.
These owls are expert hunters. They rely on their hearing to hunt. This is helped by their asymmetrical ears, which help them pinpoint exactly where their prey is. When they hear a sound, they can determine whether it’s coming from the left or right, and then if it’s coming from above or below them depending on which ear the sound hits first. This allows them to hunt their prey, even when it’s hidden under the brush.
Barn Owls are also silent fliers. This is because the feathers at the ends of their wings comb through the air and break up the turbulence, which allows them to glide silently through the air and pounce on their unsuspecting prey.
These birds can be found in many states within the United States year-round. They’re great friends to farmers because they can be a natural way to handle a pest problem. Instead of relying on pesticides, which can cause harm all the way up the food chain, farmers can put nest boxes up – which Barn Owls love to move into – and have Barn Owls keep the pest populations under control.
Barn Owls, when they capture their prey, swallow it whole. However, they can’t digest everything that comprises that animal. So in their stomachs, what they can digest is separated from what they can’t – soft tissues versus bones and fur and feathers. What they can’t digest gets clumped together in a pellet, which they then regurgitate. These pellets can be dissected by humans to learn about the food chain, skeletal structure, and learn about what prey is available in certain ecosystems.
While Barn Owls look graceful and beautiful, the sounds they make certainly aren’t. When they make sounds, they’ll often hiss or shriek. It’s a sound that can be quite scary when you hear it. Take a listen here.
Do you have any other questions about Barn Owls? Or have a specific owl species you want to know more about? Reply to this email or reach out to us on social media (@theowlbrand on Instagram and Twitter) and let us know! We’ll make sure to cover it!