Posted 16th May
The barn owl is perhaps our most familiar owl
Often spotted hunting during the daytime, the owl will be seen 'quartering' over fields and grasslands, hunting for its next small mammal meal. However, they are also just as adept at bunting in darkness, a pursuit they will conduct with deadly precision. Flying silently through the air, their heart-shaped face will direct high-frequency sounds, allowing them to find mice and voles in the vegetation.
They make an unmistakeable sight - the barn owl is ghostly white below, and mottled silver-grey and buff above, with a heart-shaped face. They also have a white face and black eyes.
The owls are widespread and are absent from the Highlands of Scotland.
While they're widespread across Britain, there have been severe declines over the last 50 years, primarily due to the agricultural intensification and habitat loss. By working with farmers, landowners, other organisations and local people, organisations such as The Wildlife Trusts are helping to half the decline, providing suitable nest boxes and by managing habitats for their benefit and to benefit smaller mammal prey.
Barn owls are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. It's also classified as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.
Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts