Nature lovers who give a hoot about barn owls should be pleased to know the number of barn-owl nests has increased in Ohio from 19 in 1988 to more than 100 in 2012.
The comeback is the result of a nesting program started by the Ohio Division of Wildlife in 1988, which has provided nesting boxes on more than 400 barns, the Ohio DNR stated in a news release.
State biologists believe many nest in areas such as dark silos, which provide a safe place for them to rest during the day and to raise their young, according to the DOW.
If people believe a barn owl is living near them, they are encouraged to call the ODNR Division of Wildlife at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Such reports of sightings assist DOW biologists in estimating how many live in Ohio. This information benefits conservation efforts by tracking where and how owls live.
The barn owl species is identified by its white, heart-shaped face, large black eyes, and golden-brown and gray back. Adult barn owls communicate with shrieks and hissing-like calls, and the calls of young barn owls are often heard on late summer nights.
Finding pellets is another indication that barn owls may be living nearby. Pellets are regurgitated bones and fur of their food, according to the news release.
Small rodents living in hayfields and pastures are a barn owl’s main food source. A pair of barn owls and their young can eat more than 1,000 rodents in a year.
Go to wildohio.com on the Internet for more information about barn owls.