Size: 13-17 inches (33-35 cm)
Weight: 10-21oz (275-600g)
Habitat: Farmland, Marshes, Prairie and Desert
Population: Fairly Common Resident, Although Numbers Have Decreased In Recent Years.
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Information About Barn Owls
The ghostly, pale shape of the Barn Owl, most often seen as it hunts silently over fields at dusk, has excited much fear and suspicion among country-dwellers in the past, especially when the bird has uttered its typical rasping shriek-- a sound to make the blood run cold in the semi-darkness. But in truth this bird poses no threat to humankind. Instead it is a ruthless and efficient hunter of small mammals, such as rats, mice, and shrews, often doing a farmer a considerable service by nesting in an outbuilding or barn and keeping mammal numbers down.
What the Common Barn Owl looks like:
The Barn Owl looks unlike other owls, it has a peculiar heart-shaped face and small, black eyes. The arrangement reflects how it uses its senses. The eyes are of secondary importance in hunting prey; it is the ears that are used primarily. Its round face helps to amplify sounds, while the silent flight, typical of all owls, keeps background noise to a minimum. The ears are not symmetrical on the head, the left side is higher on the skull than the right. This means that sound traveling from below or above will arrive at one ear before the other, and this delay helps the owl to distinguish which direction the sound is coming from. The Barn Owl has three-dimensional hearing. It can catch food in complete and total darkness.
How long before eggs hatch:
The owlets hatch out after about 30 days. The female begins incubation immediately after the 1st egg is laid. This means every egg will hatch on a different day. It will be another 3 months or more before they are independent after they hatch.
How they pick a mate:
Recent research has shown that males prefer to breed with females with plenty of spots on their thighs, a unique feature that seems to reflect a birds health.
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