BARNABY – BRITISH BARN OWL
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Hatch Year: 2013
Arrival to WBS: 2013
Reason for Residence: hatched in captivity
Barnaby was hatched at World Bird Sanctuary to parents Dawn and Dusk on April 21, 2013. As a young bird he was chosen to be hand raised by staff and intentionally imprinted on humans in order for him to join the education department. By being hand raised, Barnaby is an incredibly confident bird in even the most hectic of venues, and even flies in education programs. Though one of our smallest Barn Owls he has a HUGE personality, and all his trainers agree he is one of the best flying barn owls we have ever had. When not participating in programs, Barnaby enjoys his time behind the scenes where he takes his time in molting all of his feathers to grow in new ones for the next season.
SPECIES: BRITISH BARN OWL
UK CONSERVATION STATUS: LEAST CRITICAL
The Barn Owl was certainly a far more common species at the beginning of the 20th century than it is today, but numbers have recovered from a low point evident during the 1970s and 1980s and may now exceed 10,000 breeding pairs. The last national survey, carried out between 1994 and 1997, but the population at 4,000 breeding pairs.
Scientific Name: Tyto alba
Description: medium sized owl, smaller and lighter in color than American cousin; long, sparsely feathered legs; rounded head without ear tufts; heart shaped facial disk has white feathers surrounded with a brownish edge; beak off white, long, and compressed; rounded wings and a short tail; back tawny brown, marked with black and white spots; underside grayish white with brown spots; one of the few owls with completely dark eyes; feet yellowish-white to grayish-brown; downy feathers and fringed wing feathers give silent flight; asymmetrical ear location—one ear higher on one side of the head than the other which allows them to triangulate sound for hunting.
Sex: both sexes similar in size and color, with females tending to be larger, heavier, and darker in color than males; females and juveniles generally more densely spotted; sexually mature at 1 year
Age: high mortality rate in the first year; average age of a wild barn owl is 2 years; few adults live beyond 3-4 years; captive birds have a much longer lifespan
Weight: 9-13 oz.
Habitat: prefers open land, prairies, grasslands and agricultural area for hunting; nest in natural hollows in trees, cliffs, caves, nestboxes, barns and other structures
Range: British Isles, western France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and countries bordering the Mediterranean
Behavior: Barn owls are monogamous and mate for life. Barn owls usually choose to nest in holes in trees, or undisturbed buildings such as barns and outbuildings, ruins and, in some areas, mines, cliffs and quarries. Two broods may be reared. About 75 per cent of young die in the first year: survivors normally live for another one to three years. The greatest known age in Europe is more than 21 years; there are several records of 12-17 years.
Diet: hunting and catching small mammals, mostly field voles in the UK
Vocalization: Barn Owls don’t hoot the way most owls do; instead, they make a long, harsh scream that lasts about 2 seconds. It’s made mostly by the male, who often calls repeatedly from the air. Females give the call infrequently. A softer, more wavering version of this is termed a purring call.
– British Barn owls are only about half the size of American Barn Owls, and their coloration as a whole is much lighter.
– Barn Owl chicks make a hissing call, sometimes referred to as ‘snoring’, when in the nest.
– The Barn Owl has acute hearing, with ears placed asymmetrically for improved detection of sound position and distance, and it does not require sight to hunt. Hunting nocturnally or crepuscularly, it can target and dive down, penetrating its talons through snow, grass or brush to seize rodents with deadly accuracy.
– Barn Owls have the best hearing of any animal ever tested, and can hear a mouse moving in a field up to a quarter of a mile away.