Barn Owls in North Devon
Latin Name: tyto alba
With an estimated UK population of around 4000 breeding pairs this beautiful and graceful owl
also known as the Screech Owl (due to its call), is a much threatened species, needing our help.
The vast reduction in suitable farmland habitat since the Second World War has caused the numbers
to dramatically decline from over 20,000 pairs.
Suitable Barn Owl Habitat – Dunsdon Farm North Devon
In North Devon, and at Dunsdon we are lucky to have breeding Barn Owls (viewable on our Owlcams), Dunsdon Farm and adjoining Dunsdon National Nature Reserve have ideal rough grassland habitat, with a plentiful supply of Field Voles (They’re favourite pray).
For the last two years we have been lucky enough to have had pairs of fledgling owls, our owl boxes. Sited inside one of our large stone barns, our boxes provide a safe and warm environment for them to rear their young, and with the excellent cameras supplied by and linked to our holiday cottage and Quarry Pods monitors our guests are able to view their comings and goings.
Luxury camping in Devon is available at Dunsdon Farm, with nearby access to the Dunsdon National Nature Reserve.
The Distinct Look of The Barn Owl
Female Markings: Distinctive black speckling on frontal area under wing parts & a distinctive dark pencilled line around the facial disc together with an apricot coloured necklace.
Male Markings: Under parts & facial disc are of pure white.
Hearing Capabilities: Barn Owls mainly hunt by sound rather than by sight. With its acute hearing the Barn Owl can detect the slightest movement & sound of its prey. The ears are set asymmetrically, meaning one ear is higher than the other. The ears are located under the feathering of the inside edge of the facial disc, located next to the eyes. The facial disc acts as an amazing sound funnel, collecting & filtering sound. This allows the Owl to detect the movement of its prey with complete accuracy.
It is said that a Barn Owl can actually hear a mouse's heartbeat in a 30ft sq room.
Diet: The main diet for the Barn Owl is the short-tailed Vole; other rodents include shrews, wood mice & young rats. During times of food shortages Barn Owls will also take small amphibians.
Favoured Nest & Roost Sites: Old barns, tree hollows and nest boxes.
Devon Wildlife Trust: www.devonwildlifetrust.org