do barn owls eat birds

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When they are 8 to 14 weeks old, barn owls develop excellent adaptations for successful hunting, and they learn to do so almost entirely by instinct. They usually leave their roost site and “commute” across inappropriate habitat to reach a preferred hunting area, such as a patch of rough grassland. They are most active at dusk and dawn. See pictures of Barn Owls hunting at dusk and dawn. They primarily use sound to find prey; to do so, they fly slowly and low, up to a height of three meters, over suitable habitat until they hear a small mammal below. Usually, they will hover until the ideal moment to strike, but occasionally, a Barn Owl will soar along before abruptly falling into the grass.

Barn Owls hunt where prey is most abundant. Rough grassland gives small mammals a lot of cover, which makes it possible for their population to grow significantly. Field voles burrow through the thick layer of litter at the base of rough grassland, emerging through tiny holes to feed on the surface. Vole holes are easiest to spot between November and March. Hay meadows and crops make excellent hunting areas in the summer, and during inclement weather, barn owls frequently hunt inside and near farm buildings. As seen in the GPS tracking video from Birdwatch Ireland, Barn Owls frequently hunt alongside hedgerows in Ireland, where they are more reliant on mice. But permanent rough grassland is by far the best habitat in Britain. See why it’s so beneficial for barn owls and learn how to make it by watching the video below.

There is a price to the Barn Owl’s near-silent hunting style. Their feathers, which have been specially adapted, are not very waterproof and cannot hold a lot of body fat. This implies that they cannot hunt in severe rain and that they are especially vulnerable to starvation during protracted periods of bad weather and/or a scarcity of prey.

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Do owls eat other birds?

Owls eat other animals, from small insects such as moths or beetles, to large birds, even as large as an Osprey.

What are the predators of the barn owl?

Predators of the barn owl include large American opossums (Didelphis), the common raccoon, and similar carnivorous mammals, as well as eagles, larger hawks, and other owls. Among the latter, the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), in the Americas, and the Eurasian eagle-owl (B. bubo) are noted predators of barn owls.

Do Barn Owls eat squirrels?

Close-up of a Barn Owl face. Barn Owls prey on voles, rats, small snakes, squirrels, and other rodents. In fact, they are sometimes used for pest management as an alternative to toxic rodenticides.

Do Barn Owls eat cats?

Do owls attack cats and small dogs? The answer is yes. Large owls do on rare occasions attempt to catch and kill small cats and very small dogs. They are not always successful in attempts to kill them, but pets can wind up with significant injuries if they survive an attack.