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Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

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Barn Owl, Silent Hunter

The structure and delicate softness of a Barn Owl's feathers allow it to approach its prey almost silently. Its skillful hunting is enhanced by exceptional sight and acute hearing. The owl's ability to locate prey by sound is the most precise of any animal yet tested. Barn Owls are found... read more »

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Barn Owls Let You Know

The structure and delicate softness of its feathers allow a Barn Owl to approach its prey almost without sound. The Barn Owl's ability to locate prey by sound, even when concealed by snow or leaves, is the most precise of any animal yet tested. This young Barn Owlet is about five weeks old and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Birds Helping People - Vineyards

In some vineyards of Napa and Sonoma Counties in California, owls patrol by night, and kestrels, harriers, and other raptors take the day-watch. They eat the mice, rats, and gophers that nibble on the roots of young grapevines. Other birds help, too, including this Western Bluebird. Wineries put... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Northern Harrier and Barn Owl

Teetering and gliding not far above the ground, this Northern Harrier - formerly called a Marsh Hawk - scans the marsh grass for voles. If you return to the marsh at night, the harrier will be gone, and it's a Barn Owl you might see, also hunting voles. Although one's a hawk and the other an owl,... read more »

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The Folklore of Owls

Thanks to Harry Potter, the owl is flying high. But throughout history, the owl has received mixed reviews. The Greeks believed an owl flying over a battlefield foretold victory, while in other cultures, owls were considered omens of death, prophets of doom. Listen to the story again, and you'll... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Three Worldwide Raptors

Consider three species of raptors: the Barn Owl, Peregrine Falcon, and Osprey. They’re on every continent except Antarctica. Each has a specialized hunting prowess distinct from the other. They can fly great distances. And like many birds of prey, they mate for life. The Barn Owl, pictured here,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology
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