The Barn Owl
The Barn Owl was once a common sight in the
British Countryside. As its name indicates, it can
be found in and near farm buildings but also nests
in hollow trees and rock crevices.
Barn Owls have a heart-shaped facial disc. They
have small, dark eyes and spindly legs. The upper
body is a sandy colour with grey and white
speckling. The underparts are white. The Barn
Owl hunts primarily for voles, mice and the
common shrew either from a perch or by flying
across meadowland during the early evening and
The Barn Owl population has dropped to a dangerously low level in recent years as
intensive farming methods have reduced the voles natural habitat of hedgerows and
meadow areas and nest sites in old farm buildings are either demolished or converted
for other uses. Barn Owls are unable to hunt in wet weather as their feathers easily
become waterlogged and can starve if they are unable to eat for a couple of days. Barn
Owls therefore, are more successful in the low-lying, arable areas of the South of
Britain where there are fewer days of rainfall each year, than in the North.
1. Why is “Barn Owl” a good name for this owl?
2. What color is a Barn Owl?
3. What is the main prey for Barn Owls?
4. Why are Barn Owls “in danger”?
5. Why are Barn Owls sometimes unable to hunt for food?
6. How could we help to protect Barn Owls?