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I have always loved owls. No idea why, and my daughter, Kathy has inherited the same intrigue for them.
|Kathy's Wooden Owl|
Back in Walthamstow, North East London where we used to live three years ago, we very occasionally heard an owl – usually they were ones that had overflown from Epping Forest and roosted temporarily in the park. I didn’t hear many actually in the Forest because I rarely spent the night hours there.
Here in Devon owls abound. Tawny Owls: We have several in and around the orchard and front garden, and they make quite a racket!
Two weeks after we had moved in, to our delight we saw a Barn Owl skim across the orchard – this was January at about 10a.m on a somewhat dull morning.
Sadly we haven’t seen him or her since, although Kathy has seen a pair further up the lane.
The Dairy has had barn owls nesting in the eaves, no tenants since we moved in unfortunately, so it seems that the Windfall Farm Owls have not managed to survive. There are several at the far end of the village - a couple of miles away - and since these beautiful creatures hunt over quite a distance we are hopeful that a young pair might venture this far to settle. Barn owls are also non-territorial with adults living in overlapping spaces, each hunting territory covering up to about 12,500 acres ....or more than 7,000 football pitches!
|that's the old entrance to a nest box |
up on the end gable of the roof
Hopefully, fingers crossed, we’ll get a new family moving in one day.
The barn owl is a ghostly bird as it glides, often low, on silent wings – is it any wonder it has always been believed that it is a spiritual bird, carrying the souls of the dead? Even at up to three metres overhead (that's 9-10 feet) the barn owl’s heart-shaped face collects sound so with the silent flight the bird can hear the minutest sound made by small rodents (voles, mice etc) hidden in thick grass and vegetation along the edges of fields (and sadly, roads, which is where many owls die).
|(Photo Kevin Keatley - Barn Owl Trust)|
Contrary to belief the barn owl does NOT hoot – that’s the Tawny Owl. A barn owl has a drawn-out screech - almost a scream, and believe me at night it is a very eerie sound! Courting males give a shrill twitter, and both old and young birds can also hiss like a snake if alarmed or threatened.
Hear a barn owl click here (will redirect you to a different site)
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