Birds of Prey

Barn Owl

Latin name: Tyto alba
Weight: Male - average 15.5 ounces, Female - average 20 ounces
Wingspan: 41-47 inches
Life expectancy: 1-2 years in the wild but have reached a record of 17 years old.

Habitat and Distribution: Barn Owls can be found in many different habitats but prefer open areas. They are found on every continent except Antarctica. They are widespread across the entire U.S. but not common.

Diet: Prefer small mammals such as mice, voles, moles, and rats but will take birds, bats, frogs and lizards on occasion.

Status: Endangered in the state of Connecticut but not listed federally.

Personal Biography: The New Canaan Nature Center's resident Barn Owl came from a nature center in Ohio in September of 2005. His hatch date was August 20, 2005. He is physically perfect but is imprinted onto humans. Imprinting to humans occurs when an animal is raised by humans and therefore is not taught the skills a wild owl needs to survive.

Facts: Barn Owls are known, like other owls, for their excellent sense of hearing. They can catch prey with great success using their hearing alone. This is due to the fact that their ear openings are not symmetrical on their head. Because of their excellent hearing they are adept at hunting small rodents that are often concealed in tall grasses. A family of Barn Owls can consume over 1,000 rodents during the three month nesting period.

Barn Owls have many nicknames, including Ghost Owl. Because of their tendency to nest in abandoned buildings and the high pitched scream they emit, many hauntings have been attributed to them.


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