HERB - Re: Barn Owls

Warren & Meredith Harmon corwynsca at juno.com
Thu Jan 21 22:15:01 PST 1999

Okay, it's not about herbs, but I thought you might be interested in my
response, sooo....

>Actually, we believe this pair of barn owls has a permanent residence 
>in the barn.  The floor of the loft has evidence that the rodent
>is well controlled <G>.

Neat!  If you want a fun, but messy, children's project for your shire,
collect the owl balls.  Have your Chancellor Minor-type person dissect
the owl balls with the kids.  My mom does this with the fourth-grade
class she teaches (with plenty of antibacterial soap on hand, of course -
the non-water stuff is so handy!), and the kids love it!  When they start
piecing the skeletons together, Mom has a hard time keeping the
excitement under control!!!  Tweezers, black construction paper, gloves,
and tape complete the project materials.
>They're welcome guests, even when we fix up the barn, we plan 
>to leave them at least part of the loft.

It's a Penna Dutch proverb that luck stays in a place where barn owls
nest.  A permanent pair, huh?  IIRC, you're in Texas, or at least south
of us?  Neato!  Unherad of, around here.

>BTW, I didn't think owls migrated?  I remember hearing owls in the 
>winter in
>Michigan, and I seem to remember several books by naturalists that 
>owls on a snowy night.

Oh, yes, owls migrate - it depends on the species how far south they
actually go.  Snowy owls are rarely seen in PA, whereas we get Canada's
barred owls.  The screechies and great-horned's generally stay in place,
but the short-eared's take off for better climates.  Now, barn
owls...they're a great mystery, and one that naturalists are trying to
solve ASAP, 'cause the population of barn owls has plummeted in the past
five years.  (Loss of habitat - all the old barns are being demolished.) 
All we know is that they congregate at Cape May, NJ, then vanish utterly.
 We've put temporary (two week) trackers on a few, but they just
disappear.  Some speculate they're in South America.  In your copious
spare time (HAH!), keep track of your pair...barn owls only live an
average of two years.  But, usually a pair of the offspring will stay on,
and keep the place going.  That's what happened at my grandmother's house
for fifteen years, but when the numbers dropped, ours vanished.

Keep a watch on predators in your area - barn owlets are quite stupid. 
If you have an old pad, you might want to place it on the ground floor
under their nest, if it fronts on an unforgiving surface like concrete -
they also jump before they're ready to fly.  If anyone would like more
owl / raptor info, feel free to email me privately, and if I don't know
the answer, I know who does.

Enjoy their beauty!    -Caro

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