All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Bird of the Month Barn Owl

Driving on a dirt road on a warm California night headed out to the San Joaquin River to go fishing it was dark and a full moon when all the sudden a white image like a ghost flew in front of the car, tt was eery and scared me. After flying right in front of the windshield of my little Datsun pick up it started flying out in front of me, leading me down the road. Then I saw another and another up ahead, it was like I had entered the haunted forrest, then there was one in the middle of the road. I realized what I was seeing for the first time were Barn Owls. I went fishing often on the San Joaquin and got used to seeing a lot of Barn Owls each time I went. People now often tell me about seeing Snowy Owls at night, what they are really seeing are Barn Owls.
I took this picture at Farmington Bay several years ago. There was an eruption of Barn Owls, it was a cold hard winter and while it was good for birding and we saw a lot of Barn Owls that year, many died of starvation and cold. I occasionally see one once in a while but not in numbers like that winter,

At night appearing almost white actually have white breast and belly speckled tawny brown, the female is usually more speckled than the male. The back is brownish tawny color speckled black and white and can vary darker or lighter.

Barn Owls are nocturnal hunting at night for mice and meadow voles, They hunt by sound flying low to the ground using their heart shaped facial disk to pick up sounds.

Barn Owls live in many habitats from wide open fields, wetlands and even in urban areas.

Barn Owls are the most widely distributed of all owls living on all the continents except Antarctica and many islands of the sea.

Never tiring of seeing owls of any kind and still thrilled when I see this silent ghost flying around the wetlands at night the Barn Owl is my selection for Bird of the Month for April

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