Barn Owl Barn Owl

Fun Critter Facts

The beautiful, "heart-faced" barn owl has the largest distribution of any owl on the planet and is found in most of the lower 48 states, South America, Europe, Africa, south-central Asia, much of the Pacific islands, and Australia.

In Wyoming, this owl can be located year-round, but is a much more common summer visitor. It can be quite common in portions of the state, especially during migration. In southwest Wyoming, the bird is widespread and fairly common, and large numbers of these owls can be viewed on an annual basis during migration at a rodeo arena in Evanston.

Facts about barn owls

This species tends to inhabit open or semi open habitats, often roosting in stringers of timber within these more open areas.  Plains, marshes, agricultural fields, and desert areas are all used, as are suburban and urban areas.  

Primarily a strict nocturnal hunter, many squirrel species are safe from barn owls, but they feed heavily on other rodents and shrews, rabbits, and sometimes even bats.

Barn owls nest in a natural cavity in trees or rock faces, holes in steep river banks, and a wide variety of man-made structures ranging from haystacks to church steeples, bleachers, and (yes) barns.  They will readily use nest boxes constructed to the proper specifications. 

Barn owls lay 2 or more eggs (up to a dozen or a dozen and a half is not unheard of), which hatch in a little over a month. Young are totally dependent on the parents for nearly two months prior to fledging. 

As long as both survive, barn owls appear to primarily form lifelong pair bonds, but seek another if one is lost.  Some males mate with more than one female, but this is uncommon. 

-Mark Zornes    
Photo courtesy of Cornell Lab or Ornithology 

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