Owls in the Garden
Owls are a welcome visitor to any garden
, they feed off smaller rodents such as Mice, Voles and shrews thus keeping a natural pest control.
Owl's eyes cannot move in their socket but evolution has allowed them to almost bend their heads all the way backwards. This ability gives them direct focus on any object or prey.
Although there are many species of Owl throughout the UK, the two most common are...
The Barn Owl
Photo: The Owl family I helped raise in 2005
Barn Owls are not quite so camouflaged as the Tawny, they are mainly white in colour with slight shades of brown.
Being that Owls are mainly night time creatures and not often seen, their presence is known by their screeching call.
However, the younger ones can often be heard through the day. They don't congregate as one but spread themselves around the trees often calling to each other. These are fairly short calls lasting a couple of minutes. They tend to perch and sleep in the inner most parts of a tree and fairly high up. Quite small, they are very hard to spot.
I had the pleasure in raising some a few years back. They came from a Rescue Centre and we housed them in the Barn accross the road. For some 8 weeks or so they were enclosed in a large box with a balcony outside, also fenced in with chicken wire.
Once they flew the nest, we never saw them again - but I guess that's the reason for raising them, get them ready for finding their own habitat.
Tawny Owls are known for their 'toot hoooot' calls which for some unknown reason relates them to old horror movies.
I've found that although well camouflaged, they can often be seen early evening sitting on a fence, in fact, they can easily be mistaken for a cat at first glimpse.
They are usually slightly larger than the Barn Owl, about 35 - 40cms in length