Barn owl
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Tyto alba

Status

Special Concern

Description

The Barn Owl is a medium sized owl with a distinctive heart shaped face. Adults vary from 30 to 37 cm in body length and have a wingspan of 104 to 120 cm. Their head is rather large and lacks ear tufts. The upper parts are mainly tawny-brown to smoky gray and the under parts are white with fine black spots or speckles. The face is white with a distinct darker brown heart-shaped border.

Habitat

Barn Owls prefer low-elevation, open country with grasslands, where their small rodent prey are more abundant. The Okanagan has agricultural lands and grasslands that appeal to them. Barn Owls nest in buildings, hollow trees, cavities in cliffs, and sometimes on man-made structures, especially those which are abandoned or unused.

Barn Owls are uncommon in the Okanagan and Similkameen but the few that are present stay year-round.

Threats

-Loss of habitat due to agricultural and urban development
-Loss of prey species due to excessive pest control
-Death from secondary poisoning (eating a poisoned rodent)
-Pesticides and chemicals in the environment (can cause reproductive problems and mortality)
-Collisions with vehicles

You Can Help!

-Protect and conserve wildlife habitat
-Use traps to control pests rather than poison to prevent secondary poisoning
-Watch closely for wildlife while driving at night.
-Retain old barn or shed structures used by Barn Owls for nesting or erect nest boxes

Resources