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Barn Owl | California Living Museum

Animals

Barn Owl

  • Barn owls don’t hoot; they clack their beak and hiss. Barn owls are the only members of their family (the Tylondae) that live in North America. Barn owls live throughout California. Nocturnal hunters, they are named for their habitat of roosting in secluded places, such as barns. They are threatened by the conversion of agricultural land to urban development.

    They have a distinctive heart-shaped facial disc and small dark eyes.

    Their ability to locate prey by sound alone is the best of any animal that has ever been tested. It can catch mice in complete darkness in the lab or hidden vegetation in the wild.

    Their long legs are feathered to the toes. They are sometimes mistakenly identified as snowy owls because of their white appearance while flying.

    Barn owls fly about 10’ off the ground while hunting and are often hit by cars. They feed on small rodents and occasionally birds. One barn owl can eat over 1,000 mice in one year.

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