🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.
Thursday, 19 September 2013
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Afrikaans : Nonnetjie-uil
The Barn Owl (Tyta alba) is a frequent visitor to my property and is not shy to hunt in broad daylight. I often see one pouncing on something in the long grass during the day, flying off with its prize, probably to feed some babies.
Ghostly pale and (not) strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss. I for one do not see them as often as I used to.
Barn Owls love to use man-made structures to build their nests and are very partial to nest boxes one supplies. I’ve always had a box or two in my garden but, sadly to say, the weather has taken it’s toll on them and seeing as I’m past the stage of climbing trees to put one up, it’ll have to wait until I find someone young and agile to do the job for me!
Once welcomed by farmers as one form of pest control, the population is now under threat from modern farming techniques, e.g. the destruction of hedgerows and meadowland, which affect their prey, the removal of old barns & buildings, which were their nesting places and the use of chemicals to control rodents.
The Owl Rescue Centre is the only raptor centre in South Africa that primarily focus on owl species. They give all their time and attention to owl species because of the high mortality rate of owls in South Africa, making owls vulnerable to a decreasing population. They rehabilitate and release 200 – 250 Spotted Eagle Owls, 100 – 150 Barn Owls and 80 -100 other owl species each year.
SHOULD YOU FIND AN OWL THAT YOU SUSPECT MIGHT BE INJURED, PLEASE CALL THEM ON 082 719 5463 (24/7 emergency line – South Africa)