Cascades Raptor Center

Resident Raptor - Barn Owl

Padawan, Nani, & Soren

Padawan Padawan  This bird was found on the ground in a veneer manufacturing plant in Junction City as a nestling in early May 2011. Although he was immediately placed with other young barn owls, it was obvious within a very few days that he was not normal: he did not demonstrate normal fear responses, even when the other nestlings and fledglings were reacting to a stimulus (like the sight of people), was slow to develop, and was physically a bit stunted. It was felt that he was developmentally disabled and would not have any chance of survival in the wild - where the mortality rate is 60- 80% the first year. However, he is comfortable around humans and is an excellent, fully flighted education bird who has taken to training quite well.
(Padawan is glove-trained.)  Adopt Padawan

Nani Nani  The darker face and belly of this bird would indicate that she is probably a female. Her nest was destroyed when the farmer needed to break into that stack of hay; she was the 'runt' of the clutch, nearly comatose, and only about half the size of her two siblings when found. We do not know if she was unable to compete for food with her much bigger nest mates or if her parents sensed there was something wrong and simply did not feed her. As she was growing, she was always a couple of weeks behind the other two developmentally. Both wings had 'green stick fractures' of the radius and ulna (breaks that don't go all the way through the bone), causing a deformity of both wings and making it impossible for her to fly well enough for release. Her balance is good, though, and she gets around well. She was transferred to CRC in June 2008 when she was about 2 months old.  Adopt Nani

Soren Soren  The pale coloration of this bird makes it probable that it is a male. When he was less than a week old, his nest was disturbed accidentally when a farmer moved some hay bales; his siblings were all killed and he fell awkwardly, breaking two toes on his right foot and pulling a muscle in his left leg. He could not stand nor even sit back on his hocks for weeks. The intensive care he needed, and the lack of other barn owls at such an impressionable age, caused him to imprint on humans. Human imprints are not releasable, as they do not relate to their own species, are drawn to people and/or become very territorial and aggressive towards people, and are very likely to get hurt. He was transferred to CRC in June 2008 at the age of 2 months.
Adopt Soren

Nani and Soren, a bonded pair, have been moved off display to a permanent rehabilitation chamber, as they are our official Barn Owl foster parents for the many Barn Own orphans we get every year.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Courtesy of Barbara GleasonThis is a medium sized owl with a distinctive, large head with a white, heart-shaped face and small dark eyes; legs are long, wings are broad but fairly pointed. Plumage is pale tawny in both sexes, with the male having pale to white undersides of body and wings. Females are slightly larger in body size, as with most other raptors, and may be darker. Flight is silent, swift, and buoyant. The relatively small eyes and the sound-gathering feathered facial disc of the Barn Owl indicate its ability to hunt by sound only, throughout the darkest hours of the night or for prey in tall grass.



  Male Female
Length 17" ave. 17" ave.
Wing Span 45" ave. 45" ave.
Weight 15.6 oz. ave. 17.3 oz. ave.

Status - State and federally protected; listed as endangered in many mid-western and eastern states; declining in Great Britain.

Jonathan Releases Barn Owl Habitat - Widespread, but not common, in areas with lots of open fields, marshes, and pasture for hunting and large hollow trees or numerous old buildings for breeding sites. Less common in open countryside that has been intensely cultivated.

Diet - Hunts by extended solitary flights over open ground, often following favorite routes. Eats any small mammals to be found at dusk and into the night in open habitats - primarily voles, shrews, mice and other rodents. Average prey size is generally smaller than that of great horned owls that may inhabit the same area. In places where the larger great horned owls are present, barn owls may hunt only in hours of darkness, not only to avoid competing for food with the larger, more crepuscular owl species, but to avoid falling prey to them as well.

Call - This nocturnal species uses a great variety of calls, from screaming, screeching, hissing, purring notes, to a repeating wheezy hiss called "snoring." The most common call is a hissing shriek cssssshhH.

Nesting - Originally nested in caves, cliff faces, and hollow trees, but take advantage of barns, attics, and other man-made structures where these are available.

Most Common Problems - These owls are often hit by cars or trucks when flying low across or along roads at night. Nests built in places where human disturbance is likely, such as haystacks, buildings, and other structures, are often destroyed; young often fall from nests or fledge from nests into dangerous areas, such as manufacturing plants, warehouses, mills.

  ANCA Member

Cascades Raptor Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (Federal ID No. 93-1038827) dedicated to wildlife rescue and public education to enhance appreciation, respect, and stewardship of the natural world.


CRC logo art by Jeanne Hammond-Elliott.  Drawings by Barbara Gleason & Karl Edwards.  Photographic sources noted as provided.