Monday, December 2, 2013
Creature Feature #47: Barn Owl
The Barn Owl is the most widespread of all owl species, being found in almost every part of the world, except the desert and the polar. She has even recently extended her range to include New Zealand, with immigrants coming in from Australia and breeding in Kaitaia, Northland.
Like all owls, she is a predator, and nocturnal. On silent, ghostly wings she swoops across farmland and open countryside, seeking small rodents on which to dine. To achieve silent flight, she has modified flight feathers, with serrations along the leading edge, which break up the air flow and reduce turbulance, and therefore noise.
She does not hoot, but makes a screeching call. Her ears are positioned assymetrically, with one higher than the other, which allow greater precision in pinpointing a sound and she can hunt entirely by hearing alone, swooping on her prey with deadly accuracy.