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Barn owl

About Barn owl

This owl is pale with a large head, a flat, heart-shaped face, dark eyes, and long legs. Plumage reddish gold to rusty-brown above, mottled with gray and buff; underparts, leg feathers, and face white; underwings pale; feet brown; bill yellowish to buffish.

This owl nests in the late winter or sometimes in spring, in a tree hollow, rock crevice, a haystack, or in an old building. They have 3-11 white eggs, which are incubated by the female for 32-34 days. The chicks are taken care of by both parents.

Like most owls, the barn owl is specialized for hunting small mammals at night. It has superb hearing, especially the rustles and squeaks of voles, mice, and other rodents in the grass, and the soft edges of its flight feathers act as “silencers,” which allows it to track its prey by ear and pounce on it without warning. It likes to hunt on the wing. It flies low over the ground with a light flight action. When it finds food, it will plunge down head first, then swings it long legs forward to seize its prey in its powerful talons. An owl is able to catch a mouse in absolute darkness.

Farmers like having barn owls around as they keep the mice and other small rodents from eating the grain stored in their barns.