Thursday, March 27, 2014
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Ghostly pale and (not) strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss. I for one do not see them as often as I used to, but a few nights ago I was thrilled to hear one screeching just before dawn.
The Owl Rescue Centre is the only raptor centre in South Africa that primarily focus on owl species. They give all their time and attention to owl species because of the high mortality rate of owls in South Africa, making owls vulnerable to a decreasing population. They rehabilitate and release 200 – 250 Spotted Eagle Owls, 100 – 150 Barn Owls and 80 -100 other owl species each year. SHOULD YOU FIND AN OWL THAT YOU SUSPECT MIGHT BE INJURED, PLEASE CALL THEM ON 082 719 5463 (24/7 emergency line – South Africa)