Iowa’s Owls : The Barn Owl

This first Iowa Owl is one of the rarest owl residents and just happens to be my favorite. Barn owls are in every continent except Antarctica, they are not a fan of the cold weather… I don’t blame them, I am not a fan of the cold weather either! These owls are most commonly found in old abandoned buildings, commonly recognized by their bone chilling screeching. These silent predations are medium sized and have long wings a white chest, belly and have a heart shaped face.  Males are generally a more softer brown unlike females that have a deeper darker brown color. There length rangers from 29 to 44 cm long.

When it comes to hunting and prey barn owls are nocturnal, barn owls begin hunting 15 minutes after sunset and 90 minutes during the night. They consume 1-5 rodents each night. Juvenile barn owls eat more than the adults consuming as many as 1,000 rodents during nesting period. There prey consists of mice, shrews, reptiles and insects. Their nesting is always well-protected either in a church steeple, silos or an abandoned building. The female will on average lay five eggs and sit on them for a little over a month. The male will continuously bring her food throughout the waiting process of the eggs hatching.

The barn owl has been on the Iowa Endangered Species since 1977. This in Iowa is most commonly due to the disappearance of large trees such as cottonwood and silver maples. They currently have a restoration project funded by Iowa Wildlife Diversity Program to help report any sights of Barn Owls. Nesting boxes are a way to help the owl have a proper nesting structure to help them raise their young. These boxes are constructed from a  6 ft. 1″ by 12″ pine board and are placed in the interior of a barn wall.

Stay curious and happy hiking!