Frequently Asked Questions  
Are Barn Owls Nocturnal?
Hunting early on a March morning

Although it is generally true to say that most owls are birds of the night, the Barn Owl is certainly not only active at night.
Barn Owls are often seen around sunset, or very ealry in the mornings. Rarely you may also spot them during the middle of the day!

Sometimes, much of the hunting is done before midnight, followed by a second busy hunting period again before sunrise. But of course it depends on whether or not the owls have caught enough prey.

Daytime sightings are most frequent when prey is scarce or difficult to find, such as during hard winters, or when large numbers of prey are needed for owlets during breeding season.

Generally, daytime is a time to roost. By doing this, Barn Owls avoid contact with many of the birds who would attack them on sight, such as crows, or other raptors such as Buzzards.

By hunting into the night they coincide with activity of some of the animals they eat. They are specially adapted to hunting in very low light levels with sensitive eyes and an amazing sense of hearing. Find out more in other BOCN factfiles.

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