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Barn Owl Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Barn owls are a kind of owl that is found in many different parts of the world. In this lesson, you will learn about what makes them unique, where they live, what they eat and other cool facts.

What is a Barn Owl?

Imagine you are a tiny mouse, scurrying about on a dark, silent night. You don't see or hear anything approaching, so you think it's safe to sneak around and find some dinner. Out of nowhere, and without a sound, something large swoops down on you, grabs you and carries you off. You have just been caught by a barn owl!

A barn owl is a common kind of owl whose face looks like a white heart and who builds its nests in places like barns, tree holes, cliffs or old buildings. In nature, they usually live between two and five years.

Barn owls are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night. They have great eyesight, making it easy for them to spot a meal in the dark. These owls are carnivores, which means they only eat meat. Some of their favorite snacks include mice, rats, birds, bats, frogs and lizards.

There are many different kinds of barn owls, but they are very common and live on every continent except Antarctica. They're found in places like grasslands, fields, forests and even cities.

How do Barn Owls Look and Sound?

Barn owls are covered in white, tan and reddish brown feathers. The white feathers on their face look like a heart that was outlined with a brown marker.

Barn Owl with Heart Shaped Face
Barn Owl with Heart Shaped Face

Barn owls weigh less than a pound when they are fully grown. Despite a barn owl's light weight, its wings can be about four feet long, tip to tip!

Flying Barn Owl
Flying Barn Owl

When you think of an owl, you probably think of the gentle hooting sound many owls make. However, barn owls don't hoot. They make a shrill, bone-chilling screech and can also hiss to scare off an enemy.

As loud as their screech is, barn owls' feathers are designed to be silent when they fly. Their feathers don't swish in the breeze, so a barn owl's snack doesn't hear it coming until it's too late.

How Do Barn Owls Hunt and Eat?

Barn owls have long, sharp claws, called talons, which they use to grab dinner in a flash. Their talons work like those claw games where you try to grab a toy without dropping it, except the barn owl is much better at it than you are!

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