Barn Owl

From Ohio History Central
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Scientific Name: Tyto alba
Habitat: Grassy and old fields, wet meadows, and wetlands
Adult Weight: average 17 oz. male; 20 oz. female
Adult Body Length: 13-15 inches
Nesting Period: April - July
Broods Per Year: 1
Clutch Size: 3-10 eggs; average 6
Life Expectancy: 3- 4 years
Foods: 98% of diet is meadow voles, shrews and mice. Also eats birds and reptiles.


The barn owl can be found, not only in North and South America, but throughout the world in Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.


19th Century

Barn owls did not arrive in southwestern Ohio until the mid-1800s after the forests had been turned to farmlands. The first Ohio specimen was collected in Cincinnati in 1861. Numbers increased in the 1880s, spreading north to Lake Erie by 1891.

20th Century

Barn owl populations peaked in Ohio during the 1930s. Nests could be found in eighty-four counties. In the 1940s, with the change to intensive row-crop farming, the commercial development of farms, as well as the decrease in the number of farms in the state, barn owl nesting areas and hunting areas began to disappear. Populations began to decline. By the 1960s and 70s, only small populations of barn owls remained in areas of the state. Most barn owls are not permanent residents of Ohio, leaving in the winter and returning in mid-March. Today, the barn owl is an endangered species in Ohio. Conservation techniques include maintaining grassy areas where rodents live and allowing trees with hollow nesting cavities to remain standing and placing nesting boxes in barns or silos.

See Also