You can see these incredible birds hunting in the fields and hedgerows just to the east of Otley, a habitat set to be destroyed by the new development. A glimpse of such ghostly pale perfection is certainly enough to make my day. The heart-shaped face of the Barn Owl enhances its acute sense of hearing, as does the asymmetric position of its ears. Its feathers have several adaptations to ensure it is silent as it slowly quarters the ground, giving rise to its old country name Hushwing (check out Alan Brown’s beautifully-illustrated children’s story of that name). The Barn Owl is searching mostly for small mammals, such as field voles, and its voracious consumption of rodents make it very much the farmer’s friend – some even take advantage of the fact that these owls are relatively keen adopters of nestboxes. You’re more likely to see them during the day if the previous night has been wet and therefore difficult for hunting.
Photo by Pixabay