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Barn Owl

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  • Barn Owl

    I noticed a large barn owl leave our barn the other night... Our barn was built less than a year ago so I guess we've been officially *discovered* by him now.

    I'm happy to welcome him and his ability to keep the mice population down BUT, we lost a female kitty (about 6 months old) a few months ago. Could the barn owl be to blame? I'm only concerned because I was going to replace her, the other barn cat, her brother, seems lonely. The missing kitty was the smaller of the two so I definately will go find a full grown cat at the shelter to replace her vs. a kitten.

    Just curious if any of ya'll have had problems with cats vs. barn owls. I don't want to be feeding cats to the owl

    He looked big enough to carry off a cat but I wasn't sure.

  • #2
    Oh for sure large owls like the Great Horned can easily kill a cat and do they also kill rabbits with no problems. We have them here in our hay barns and love them!!!! Not only mice they eat but pigeons which are a bigger problem. A cat once in awhile? Small price to pay to me.
    Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


    • #3
      They are certainly capable of taking a small kitten, but I think a hawk is a more likely culprit...I am so jealous of you by the way, I would LOVE to have a barn owl...I have owls in the woods around me, but alas no barn owl..I do think your choice of an adult cat versus a kitten makes sense...


      • #4
        I would love to have a barn owl too.

        A Barn Owl could be dangerous to a kitten, but not a full grown cat.


        • #5
          Feel free to transport that owl to meeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! My cats are all growed up.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


          • Original Poster

            Ha! I think I'll put out the welcome mat for him... I like the idea of the barn owl!

            So sad though, I was reading info on them on the internet and one source said they normally only live a year or two in the wild, up to 7 years in captivity. I really would have thought they had a long life span for some reason.

            I hope to sneak up on him some time and take his picture. He wasn't in my barn last night but the horses were in so maybe he only likes it when it's vacant.


            • #7
              If he is a rather recent arrival, he may just be winter visiting. We have owls in our trees when it gets really cold further north. Maybe really deep snow, so harder to find the mice and small animals to eat. I never see them, but you can sure hear them calling in the late night. Really talk a lot! I am inside the house, still hear them easily.

              We have modern barns, so they close up tight, no place for owl to enter at night. Our Owls usually only stay a couple months, then leave as the weather gets "less cold" towards spring. We call it "Deep Freeze" weather when we start hearing them hooting at night. Clear, COLD, so pretty outside in the night. Usually snowy with twinkly stars for light. Single digit temps or below, is good Owl weather.

              The old neighbor man used to tell us there was a nesting owl in his acreage, but never pointed out the location. He died, but the Owl and descendents are probably still around. The new house owner has not changed anything in the old fence rows or fields. Usually gets hayed once or twice a year with lots of wild woods out behind, easily able to support Owls in numbers.

              I would more likely choose another culprit for kitten killing, like raccoons and opossums when kitten got in the way of food. Possum will eat dead cats for sure.

              Congrats on your visitor, I consider them a real helpful bird in removing varmints. You are a LUCKY person.


              • #8
                I was just talking to SO today how I'ld love him to get a hawk for our barn and he corrected me that no, we needed an owl. I would love to get your owl, we have no cats. But as others have said, a Barn owl is too small to take a healthy adult cat, kitten yes. A larger like Great Horned can take an adult.
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                • #9
                  I worked in a wildlife rehab place once and dealt with many barn owls. Barn owls would NEVER be able to take an adult cat. They are relatively light, their beaks aren't nearly as strong as a GH Owl and neither are their talons. The feed almost exclusively on mice, other small rodents, insects, and small lizards. And I doubt a Barn Owl would prey on kittens, as their preferred prey is so numerous.

                  Barn Owls are wonderful to have around. When they are feeding chicks, they kill many times their weight in mice.

                  Barn Owls, by the way, do not "hoot". If you hear them at all, you will hear a "clicking" sound. If you hear the "hoo hoo", that's probably a GH Owl, which are not going to roost in a barn. They roost in trees.

                  In all likelihood, your cat was hit by a car or killed by dogs or died of some disease cats get who are not confined indoors.

                  Also, all birds of prey, including owls, hawks, and falcons, are protected in the US.


                  • #10
                    My Owl Mystery

                    Good luck to your Barn Owl, lucky you!

                    When I kept my horses on my property, it was bisected by an abandoned rail trail. Kids would often walk the trail and tease my livestock, at least making the dog bark & rooster crow. A few nights in a row I heard kids mimicing a horse whinny. Drove me nuts, especially thinking kids were prowling around my barn at night.
                    Then BAM! I heard a commotion in my (cold) wood stove. Peeking in, I could see it was a bird that got caught in the chimney. I ran and grabbed an old birdcage and slowly opened the stove to allow the intruder escape to the cage.
                    Lo & behold, it was a small screech or barred owl. I enjoyed watching him a few minutes before releasing him to the back yard. The fake "whinnying" I had been hearing was a little owl!

                    I now live in the inner city (re ghetto) and have actually spotted an owl walking the dog in the park! Their flight is absolutely silent!


                    • #11
                      I have a big owl that roosts in a tree that borders my property. I LOVE him. He is beautiful. Not sure exactly what kind he is, but given the size of the sucker and that he hoots etc I would guess GH (didn't think we had them in FL?). He's been here since foaling season last year - he "helped" me through every foaling LOL. I do watch my small dog at night now since discovering I had such a large visitor. I also have 2 hawks that live in a tree across the road from me. I love the birds of prey.
                      Emerald Acres standing the ATA, Trakehner Verband, sBs, RPSI, and ISR/OLD NA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!


                      • #12
                        Love love love owls...just one of the coolest birds ever.
                        I'm sorry you lost one of your barn kittens...but my bet would be a coyote or wandering off if it just disappeared.
                        When I was a youngster we had a Snowy Owl that came and sat in our crab apple tree every night one winter...right before dusk and would sit there about an hour or two until it was dark and take off. I used to bundle up for the cold and go sit on my front porch and watch it. Absolutely gorgeous...not to mention the coolest thing was watching a bird of that size take off and fly right over you and not make a single sound...silent fliers. Way cool!
                        We have a horned owl who comes around once in a while...I hear it more than see it. Haven't seen a barn owl in ages, would be nice to have one for my barn. Although Fred and Ginger (my spring/summer swallows) wouldn't be amused.
                        You jump in the saddle,
                        Hold onto the bridle!
                        Jump in the line!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TikiSoo View Post
                          I now live in the inner city (re ghetto) and have actually spotted an owl walking the dog in the park! Their flight is absolutely silent!

                          Wow! That must have been some owl to be walking a dog!

                          Sorry, I realize it's simply a sentence structure/syntax issue but it sure was funny!

                          Alas, no owls by us Plenty of hawk and falcon, tho, along with bats.
                          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                          • #14
                            The call pattern of the GH is:
                            who cooks for you, who cooks for you (4 hoots, 4 hoots)

                            The call pattern of the barred owl is:
                            who cooks for you, who cooks for you all (4 hoots, 5 hoots)

                            We have a barred living in our area, and some screech owls as well. I love it when it starts hooting at night. What a treat!
                            Last edited by Chief2; Jan. 2, 2009, 10:18 AM.
                            "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TikiSoo View Post
                              Lo & behold, it was a small screech or barred owl. I enjoyed watching him a few minutes before releasing him to the back yard. The fake "whinnying" I had been hearing was a little owl!
                              That would make it a screech owl. I am so jealous of the OP's Barn Owl. They rarely make it up here and are an occasion for celebration by birders when they do.

                              My route to the barn takes me through very flat farm country with large open fields and in winter I can usually see one or more Snowy Owls flying or perching on barn roofs.


                              • #16
                                Luckylucky you!

                                Barn owls are getting very endangered, and they are SO beautiful so take good care of yours! Here in central Ohio the most plentiful owl is the great horned owl, and I enjoy trying to mimic their call ( who cooks for you!) at night because sometimes they'll call back! Love that! We also have a number of barred owls, who are gorgeous. The only time I've seen a Snowy Owl was dead on the side of the road in Iowa and it was practially untouched... so beautiful I almost stopped and picked it up...so sad.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by ChocoMare View Post
                                  Wow! That must have been some owl to be walking a dog!

                                  Sorry, I realize it's simply a sentence structure/syntax issue but it sure was funny!

                                  Alas, no owls by us Plenty of hawk and falcon, tho, along with bats.
                                  I also was reading about the neat owl that was walking the dog.

                                  Our neighbor killed a great big owl, wingspan easily over 6', that kept getting his chickens, when he found him one day in there having an early chicken supper.
                                  I was a little kid and knew where the owl was nesting, climbed the pine tree and got two little ones, still with down, no feathers, out of the nest and brought them home.
                                  My father helped me raise them in a big cage he made for them.
                                  We had a school function where we were representing the middle ages and I got to parade the two owls in their cage, as people in those times used to do, being short of entertainment.
                                  That was a great treat for all, to see the half grown owls.
                                  I am sure all of us still remember them.

                                  My father made them a nesting box, put it up in the pine tree the nest had been and, once they were feathered, we put them up there, but kept feeding them.
                                  We watched them fly and hover around for a few weeks, until one day they were gone.
                                  After that, one owl for a few years kept coming to nest in that wood box.
                                  Luckily, not one of those owls had a taste for chicken.

                                  Here, our barn is open in front and at times there is a tan looking owl staying here.
                                  He is not scared of anything and stays for a few days, getting rabbits I think and then moves on.
                                  I keep an eye on my little dog when that owl is around, but it has not bothered her any, just sits on the fence.


                                  • #18
                                    We are Owl Central here; have several sizes/varieties, year round. We are surrounded by working farms (some row crops, some cattle pastures, plus sheep) and have a creek running close to the house with some dense woodlots.

                                    The most common calls we hear are the ones we call the wha-hoo birds "wa-wa-wa-hoo!". THAT will get you up from a deep sleep. And some nights there are several of them wa-hoo-ing and gurgling back and forth at each other.

                                    And our barn kitty's official name is The Owl Cat. She was a stray that came to stay, but for the first month or so we only saw her in the rafters as she was rather shy of people. She got over that in a hurry and doesn't even hold a grudge when we take her to the vet.
                                    Incredible Invisible


                                    • #19
                                      Owls kill cats.
                                      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                      • #20
                                        Attract a barn Owl

                                        They like high areas in a barn. I built a nesting spot in a barn at my daughters farm. It was just an old orange crate with sticks of all sizes and some straw. It was on a cross beam in the middle of the loft. I had to cut a small hole up over the door to the loft as she kept closeing the doors.I made one at each end. It wasn't only a couple of weeks that we saw that the owl was infact entering the barn and useing the nest. It had fur and bones in it and a few feathers. The owl was a member of the family after that. I guess other owls have used the place as this was maybe 12 yrs ago. We still see and hear them now and then. I would think one could find ways to attract these great birds on the net. If they can keep your place clean of mice, rats and birds???