Fun for the family

"My family and I have watched Backyard Barn Owls at least once daily since we received it. I only wish it were longer. Do yourself a favor and check out this video."
      Christopher B.
Fun for the family

"My family and I have watched Backyard Barn Owls at least once daily since we received it. I only wish it were longer. Do yourself a favor and check out this video."
    Christopher B.
Title: Backyard Barn Owls Home     Facts     Clips    Buy the DVD


Photo: Barn Owl MEET THE
BARN OWL

With his unique appearance, spooky voice and incredible physical and sensory skills, the Barn Owl hunts to live and lives to hunt. This beautiful and beneficial bird is common worldwide, yet rarely seen by most of us because he lives by night.

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A Barn Owl is about the size of a 10-lb. cat but only weighs a pound. Rats, gophers and mice are his meal of choice, and he can locate and "acquire" one in total darkness, thanks to a keen set of eyes and even keener hearing. Photo: Barn Owl with Eggs The Barn Owl's "satellite dish" face helps him pick up the faintest leaf rustle or mouse peep from hundreds of feet away. His ears are positioned at about eye level, just behind his ridge of facial feathers. One ear is positioned higher than the other as part of a cool 3D hearing system.
   The Barn Owl's huge 42" wingspan and special fringe-edged feathers facilitate slow silent flight, which usually spells curtains for even the most wary rodent.

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RODENTS BEWARE!

A pair of adult Barn Owls will typically woof down 4-6 rodents per night, and a growing family will easily triple that. This pans out to something over 5000 rodents per year — gone forever from your neighborhood. Basically for free!

Photo: Owlet GOT OWLETS?

Barn Owls lay their eggs in January, or a bit later in cold climates. Owlets hatch 30 days later and begin to leave the nest at about ten weeks of age. A second clutch in summer is not uncommon if food is plentiful.

Photo: Barn Owl Pellet ABOUT PELLETS

A Barn Owl eats his rodents whole, in a series of dramatic gulps. After his digestive system takes its due, the owl will cough up a walnut sized "pellet" containing the non-nutritional hair, teeth and bones of the deceased. School children commonly dissect these pellets (sterilized, of course) to determine what was on the menu at The Midnight Cafe.

Photo: Bones From an Owl Pellet

Rodent bones found inside an owl pellet


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Build it and they will come

For whatever reason, Barn Owls have always been attracted to man-made structures like barns, Photo: Hanging an Owl Box attics, steeples, and homemade nesting boxes. And since these magnificent birds don't seem to mind living around human activity, there's a good chance you can encourage a pair to nest in a box on your property.
  All you need is a simple wooden box, a high tree limb or 15-20 ft. pole, and a way to get the box up there (that's the hard part). Once your box is installed and some owls move in, you're in for some real fun! It's almost like having a pet, with no vet bills to pay or owl kibbles to buy!
Photo: Plywood Owl Box

FAQs

Will lights bother our owls?

Not much. Half of Backyard Barn Owls was filmed at night with big floodlamps lighting our box and trees. We were cautious at first, but the owls never seemed to mind being spied upon.

Are Barn Owls monogamous?

Yes, like many birds they mate for life and we're seeing the same pair (the co-stars of Backyard Barn Owls) in our box for the third year in a row.

Who Hoos?

Only the Great Horned Owl "Hoos." Barn Owls get your attention with a loud raspy screee-eeech, and often a clicky chirp-chirp-chirp. Listen...

Will a Barn Owl carry off my cat?

No way. A ten-lb. cat is much too big for a one-lb. owl to mess with. A large gopher or very small rabbit is about his limit.

Do owls live in a box year-round?

A box is only used for nesting and raising babies. After the owlets fledge, an owl box will be vacant until next breeding season.

Should my owl box have a perch?

The downside of a perch is that it could attract predators. We like a perch, however, because it encourages the young adults to step out of the box, and it acts as a stage for more action! Photo: Barn Owls with Gopher

Mama Barn Owl (right) delivering a fresh gopher to her almost-mature owlets

Will Barn Owls put a complete end to my rodent problem?

We wish. Barn Owls have a range of one or two miles, so "your" owls won't always feed from your property. Still, these birds eat a LOT of rodents, and you and your whole neighborhood will benefit from Barn Owls working the night shift.