Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
It was very exciting to see a barn owl one day in the garden since they normally hunt at night in the countryside. Their feathers can look almost ghostly, as they are white underneath and golden buff above with a heart shaped, flat face.
This large (34cm) bird is very good at swooping silently and pouncing on mice, shrews and voles with its sharp talons. Owls leave behind a dry waste pellet of bones and fur that they cannot digest. You can sometimes find whole mice jawbones if you soak the pellet in water.
Barn owls prefer to nest in hollow trees or old buildings where they won’t be disturbed. Their babies look really fluffy before they get their adult feathers.
The eerie shriek of the barn owl used to be thought of as a bad omen but they can also hiss and even snore!