The five young Barn Owls at our Lafayette nest box have all fledged successfully for the 2018 nesting season.
It was a great relief for us when they all flew out of the box and are out investigating their environment.
We greatly appreciate the donations that all of you gave to assist in paying for the mice.
Through our research on Barn Owls, we have found several interesting and amazing things about them.
1) Barn Owls are almost 100% beneficial; in fact, they may be the most beneficial bird of prey in North America. The Barn Owls that have used our nest boxes prey almost entirely upon destructive voles, rats and mice! Since 2017, several of our Barn Owls were seen bringing cottontails to their nestlings. We have also documented a European Starling, a Barn Swallow, an American Kestrel, and a Western Meadowlark in or near tour nest boxes.
2) A family of Barn Owls will consume roughly 500-600 small mammals in a nesting season. By watching the cameras, we found that; on the evening of June 20th 2015, the male Barn Owl brought in 12 small mammals in a single evening!
3) Barn Owls will successfully nest near other birds of prey, including hawks, falcons and the larger and more powerful Great Horned Owl, if there is adequate food for all species.
4) Several pairs of Barn Owls will successfully nest within a mile of each other if they have nesting sites and a food supply.
5) To increase Barn Owl numbers; all that is needed, is to build and place structures (in the proper habitat) for them, and they will use them.
6) Barn Owls, in Colorado, can lay 10 eggs or more in a single nest, however, an average clutch size is about 4-6. Barn Owls in Europe average 5-6 eggs per nest.
7) The ear openings of Barn Owls are asymmetrical, with the left opening being higher than the right. Barn Owls have flaps of skin around their ears that they can move, much like an animal moves their ears when listening.
8) When a Barn Owl swallows a mouse or vole, it takes about 2 minutes for the mouse/vole to enter the owl's stomach. About 2 hours later, the mouse/vole is digested; meaning that the muscle and tissue are removed from the bones and fur; 4 hours later the pellet (consisting of bones and fur) is formed and ready to be regurgitated.
9) In North America, the same pair of Barn Owls seldom, if ever, nest together from one year to the next. However, once Barn Owls find a nesting site suitable, Barn Owls can occupy that site for several years, even though it is occupied by different birds every year.
10) Barn Owls can successfully nest and raise a family their second spring/summer (their first spring/summer is when the owls hatch).
*To continue this project we are accepting donations that will enable us to construct more nest boxes for Barn Owls, as well as pay to have the boxes monitored. We appreciate your donations!
The above video, is the release of the Barn Owls that were abandoned last year. Those of you that remember watching the Barn Owl in 2015, will remember that their parents abandoned the owlets. The birds were taken in; and raised in captivity. Those owls were subsequently released in two of our nest boxes In April this year.
**The camera on the left is a live look at the inside of the nest box. The box on the right is the view from outside of the nest box.
Barn Owl Recovery!
While checking Barn Owl nest boxes on May 5th 2017, we were able to capture an adult female Barn Owl in one of our boxes west of Longmont Colorado.
She already had a band on her left leg.
We always band the adult birds on the left leg and the nestlings on the right.
After reading her band number, which was 1947-30545. We found that she was originally banded in that box on 1 August 2015, as a breeding female, and 2015, was her first nesting season as she hatched in 2014.
This is the first Barn Owl that we have ever had return to the same nest box to raise her family.
This beautiful Barn Owl painting is an original watercolor painted by our director Scott Rashid. Prints of this painting are available at
Sales from prints of the painting will help pay for the construction and placement of Barn Owl boxes throughout Colorado.