Barn Owl Call
Barn Owl - "Barnadette"
Tyto alba (Greek word tyto, refers to an owl; alba = Latin word for white)
In June 2011, an adult female Barn Owl was found on a residential driveway in Gilroy, unable to fly. X-rays indicated that the owl's left wing was pinioned and the two metacarpals and phalanges (wrist and finger bones) and primary feathers were missing. Such mutilation is performed to deliberately cripple a bird in captivity, most often domestic ducks and geese to prevent them from flying away and escaping. Pinioning is not the same as clipping the feathers of pet birds such as parrots. Clipped feathers will grow back but amputating the bone itself is permanent and cannot be repaired surgically. In the U.S., it's illegal to injure a migratory bird or keep one in captivity without a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Because this barn owl had no wounds and her feathers were in good condition - except for the left wing mutilation, of course - it's certain that the owl's injury was not caused by an unfortunate accident or from mangling by a natural predator such as a raccoon or another raptor. For several months, the owl was kept under observation to ensure that the injury didn't cause further pain or prevent her from freely ambulating in an enclosure. In October, Barnadette officially joined WERC's educational animal ambassador team. Barnadette lives in a large enclosure with a specially-made ladder-ramp and extra perches so that she can hop up to her loft, where she sleeps during the day. Barnadette has a second job as a foster mother to the many barn owlets that arrive every year after they've fallen out of their nests or been orphaned. Her presence will help prevent them from becoming imprinted on their human caretakers.
Barn Owl Fast Facts:
Voice: Hissing shriek
Habitat: Meadows, grasslands, pastures, fields, farmland
Nesting: Monogamous. 2-12 whitish eggs in natural hollows in trees, cliffs, and caves, or in man-made structures, like nest boxes, barns, chimneys, and other structures. 1-3 broods per year. Young fed by both parents.
Diet: Mostly small rodents such as mice and gophers, but also birds, fish, reptiles, and insects. A farmer's friend-- A family of 2 adults and 6 young may consume over 1,000 rodents during the 3-month nesting period.
Behavior: Nocturnal. While perched, the barn owl has a habit of lowering its head and swaying from side to side, called "toe-dusting".
Life Expectancy in the wild: 11-25 years
Range: The Barn Owl is one of the most widely distributed birds in the world, found on all continents except Antarctica, and on many oceanic islands as well.