Barn owls making a comeback in Ohio
COLUMBUS -- Barn owls are making a comeback in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the ODNR Division of Wildlife is seeking reports from people who have spotted the creatures.
Reporting sightings of barn owls helps ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists estimate how many live in Ohio. This information benefits conservation efforts by tracking where and how the owls live. If people believe a barn owl is living near them, they are encouraged to call the ODNR Division of Wildlife at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to a news release from ODNR, "This species is easily identified by its white, heart-shaped face, large black eyes and golden-brown and gray back. Adult barn owls communicate with shrieks and hissing-like calls, and the calls of young barn owls begging their parents for food are often heard on late summer nights. Finding pellets is another indication that barn owls may be living nearby. Pellets are regurgitated bones and fur of their food.
"Small rodents living in hayfields and pastures are a barn owl's main food source. A pair of barn owls and their young can eat more than 1,000 rodents in a year. As their name suggests, these birds find shelter in barns or other dark buildings, like silos. These buildings provide a safe place for them to rest during the day and to raise their young."
The ODNR Division of Wildlife has provided shelter for barn owls since 1988 by placing nest boxes on more than 400 barns. This program has helped to increase the number of nests in Ohio from 19 in 1988 to more than 100 in 2012. Biologists believe many nest in areas other than these boxes.
Go to wildohio.com for more information about barn owls.