Barn Owl

Barn Owl
Tyto alba

Barn Owls are found on every continent except for Antarctica. Their hearing is so exceptional that they can hunt prey in total darkness! Their unique, heart-shaped face helps direct sound to their ears.

Barn Owls have adapted well to human development and like to nest in man-made structures such as houses, steeples and, of course, barns. Considered one of the best natural “pest” controllers, an individual barn owl can eat hundreds of mice and other small rodents in a year. During breeding season, the female barn owl will stay with the young while the male hunts and returns with food. Baby Barn Owls can eat their own body weight in food every night. A nest might have up to seven chicks, so that’s a lot of food to catch every night!

Lindsay Wildlife is home to two Barn Owls, Tyto and Alba!

Alba was found in Danville in a house under construction. Because she could not fly, she was brought to our wildlife hospital in 1999 for examination. It was discovered that her shoulder was unstable and would dislocate while flying. Since this particular condition could not be repaired and because it would preclude her from successfully hunting, it was determined that she was to be unable to return to the wild. As part of the Animal Encounters program, Alba has made a positive impact as an education ambassador for her species. She has also contributed directly toward the rehabilitation of other injured owls. In 2007, Alba “donated” blood to a wild Barn Owl in our wildlife hospital who was later released! Her name “Alba” comes from the second part of the Barn owl’s Latin name: Tyto alba.

A young Tyto was found in Davis with a fractured left wing. Although the wing healed, he cannot fly perfectly and would not be able to successfully hunt in the wild. He has been part of the team since 2004.

Tyto has been a big part of our new flight program. Despite his wing injury, he can do short flights directed by sound! He has recently moved to an outdoor aviary to spend the night, but he comes in every day to spend time with his keepers.

You can help Barn Owls by providing nest boxes and not poisoning the rodents they rely on for food.