Posted by: atowhee | November 1, 2022


Barn Owls are unusual even in the owl clan which specializes in oddities. The Barn Owl is one of the few species found on every continent except Antarctic. They are masters at catching small rodents. Anywhere a mouse or vole can survive, the Barn Owl will find a way. Their name indicates how comfortable they have become around our species. Many Oregon vineyards and other ag enterprises encourage their presence with nest/roost boxes near the crops. And they are very flexible about when and how they nest, often more than once per year. Eggs have been found during every month of the calendar in North America–plenty of food, let’s raise some owlets!

The two large, but unfledged nestlings, Barn Owlets are in a safe and cozy nest box in a private barn adjacent to Ankeny NWR. I took the pictures through a peephole in one wall. They stared and clacked their tongue. It was clear I was an unwelcome intruder. It is the second clutch raised in this box this year. The more usual brood in spring numbered FOUR. The owner got the nest box from Salem Audubon Society. Owner says this is the first time there’s been a double clutch. The box has been used three of the past four years. In 2020 the parents raised and fledged FIVE young. That says much of the local vole volume, but the owner says he supplemented the natural supply with bits of boned chicken meat that year. None was wasted. Owls clean their plate and their palate alike.

In the nearby trees are a colony of Acorn Woodpeckers, scrub-jay, House Finch…and Great Horned Owls. Even though the nest box is secure the parent Barn Owls must go further away to roost safely in day-time. The owner has not found out where. There are a number of accessible farm buildings within a short flight. The barn with the owl box is occupied by many pairs of Barn Swallows in spring and summer. The owner is also proud of his resident bluebirds in nest boxes he put up for them. He spoke of a constant battle with invading starlings, however.

Here is the front entry to the Barn Owl box:


An email arrived from my friend Karl Schneck who lives in rural Jackson County:

Looks like the same setup for a nest box that I have on my metal shop building… entrance from outside and box on the inside. I’ve been seeing 1 or 2 Barn Owls on most days perching in an ivy-filled tree close to the nest box so I have my fingers crossed they will nest again this year. Last year they laid one egg and then abandoned it. The year before they raised 4 young and they were banded (one showed up in SF Bay Area in a rehab center after being injured but was later released). See if you can find Waldo in the attached photos… also one of an owl after it flew from the ivy-filled tree to an open perch.

Here are Karl’s fine photos:


Who is this guy? Family friend took this photo at Huntington cactus garden, Pasadena. Know the bird?

RED-WHISKERED BULBUL, native to eastern India. They have also become established in the wild in Florida and Hawaii.

India trying to save falcons. Click here.

A Great Gray Owl from Canada has arrived in Maine–click here.

My wife is helping a local horse rescue operation. Click here if you want to help, also.

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