Saturday, January 29, 2011

Our Elusive Barn Owl

If this is your image, please let me know immediately so I can credit you. It's awesome.

I saw it! I finally saw it!

via National Wildlife Federation

And just in time for Valentine's Day, with it's beautiful heart-shaped face.

Barn Owl
by Brian Scott via Flickr

I have been hearing this gorgeous bird's eerie shriek off and on since before Christmas, usually in the pre-dawn hours when I first awake, about 4:30am.

(Make sure your volume is not up too loud)

I know, freaky, right? Now you know why it caught my attention.

via Barn Owl Trust

I thought it was an owl of some sort so I visited The Owl Pages to learn more about my freaky mysterious midnight shrieker. You can go to their page specifically about barn owls by clicking here.

via Major Wildlife Photography
 The only other time I've seen a barn owl was several years ago when my husband and I were driving home one evening from his parent's farm. Our headlights flashed over this huge magnificent creature perched just off the road and we both looked at each other to check our sanity. "Did you see that?" we asked at the same time.

by Annie Marie Mussleman via

This morning I was up at my usual 4:30am but didn't hear our bird until just as they sky was getting light. He was shrieking down at the edge of the yard so I very carefully stepped out onto the porch. Barn owls have incredible hearing and locate their prey more by sound than sight so I knew extreme quiet was necessary. I heard him shriek a couple more times and then, just as I turned my head in his direction, he came flying up the hill, maybe 4 feet off the ground, across the yard, and over into the field. Thrilling hardly describes it.

Diffrent Point of View
by Picture Taker 2 via Flickr

Not a sound. He flapped his (upwards of 43") wings a couple of times but still, not a sound. I've learned that barn owls fly so silently because their wings do not have oils and because they rely so heavily on their hearing to locate prey, the flapping sound of their wings does not interfere with their hunting. Pretty cool, huh?

by midlander1231 via Flickr

Though barn owls are fairly wide spread, being found on every continent except for Antarctica, they are not overly common in our area. We live on the edge of one of those mysterious blank spots on their range map. Neither do they tend to migrate. However, they are vulnerable to extremely cold winters, which we have been experiencing in our neck of the woods. I would guess that our barn owl is on the move hoping to find a bit warm weather. It's a theory and maybe if one of you knows better I would love for you to share with us.

Random Oldies - Barn Owl
by me'nthedogs via Flickr

I have another owl story to share with you sometime but I hope you've enjoyed a peak at our barn owl today. He's a big magestic creature and I hope he stays around.

See ya next time.

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