Barn Owl
Tyto alba

1/400s at f8.0, ISO:1250, Canon EOS-1D X EF800mm+1.4x III converter

The Barn Owl is the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds. It is also referred to as Common Barn Owl, to distinguish it from other species in the barn owl family Tytonidae. It hunts by flying low and slowly over an area of open ground, hovering over spots that conceal potential prey. They may also use fence posts or other lookouts to ambush prey. The Barn Owl feeds primarily on small vertebrates, particularly rodents. Studies have shown that an individual Barn Owl may eat one or more rodents per night; a nesting pair and their young can eat more than 1,000 rodents per year. The Barn Owl has acute hearing, with ears placed asymmetrically for improved detection of sound position and distance, and it does not require sight to hunt. Hunting nocturnally, it can target and dive down, penetrating its talons through snow, grass or brush to seize rodents with deadly accuracy. Compared to other owls of similar size, the Barn Owl has a much higher metabolic rate, requiring relatively more food. Pound for pound, Barn Owls consume more rodents often regarded as pests by humans than possibly any other creature. This makes the Barn Owl one of the most economically valuable wildlife animals to farmers. Farmers often find these owls more effective than poison in keeping down rodent pests, and they can encourage Barn Owl habitation by providing nest sites. In temperate regions, the breeding season usually starts in late March to early April. Breeding can take place at any time prey is abundant, and in the warm parts of its range may occur at any time of the year. An increase in rodent populations will usually soon cause the local Barn Owls to begin nesting; thus, even in the cooler parts of its range two broods are often raised each year. Occasionally, nesting takes place in mine shafts and caves. The female typically lays four to seven eggs. The male brings food to the nest as the female incubates the eggs and cares for chicks.
Boulder County, CO