Barn Owl

Barn Owl, Vancouver Island, BC
Barn Owl, Vancouver Island, BC, Copyright By Pauline Greenhalgh

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The Barn Owl is a fairly small owl with a max body length of 50 cm, a wingspan of just over 1 meter, and weighs up to 1.5 kilos. Barn owls can be found all over the Pacific Northwest and most of North America. The Barn owl’s northern range is limited only by the severity of winter weather and the availability of prey. These owls can usually be found in marshy areas that are surrounded by forests.

They prefer to hunt small mammals like rodents, but barn owls will also hunt birds, fish, reptiles, and insects. Barn owls hunt from a perch and swoop down onto their prey to grab them with their talons.

Barn Owl, Vancouver Island, BC
Barn Owl, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo Copyright By Pauline Greenhalgh

These owls nest in natural hollows in trees, cliffs, caves, or in man-made structures, like nest boxes, barns, sheds, and other structures. The nest is shallow and lined with bits of debris. The female lays up to 7 eggs, sometimes more, which are incubated for about 35 days. Young owls fledge by 10 weeks after hatching but do not leave the area until they are 3 to 5 months old. The breeding pair may lay a second clutch of eggs when the young fledge.

The Barn Owl can be found in most habitats but prefers open woodland far more than the forests. They usually roost by day. The Barn Owl is one of the most widespread of all the land birds. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. They occur throughout most of Britain and Europe and across many parts of Asia, Africa, and much of Southern North America. On the coast of BC, they are found in the mainland area, the southern gulf islands, and on southern Vancouver Island.

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