Common Barn-OwlTyto alba (Scopoli)
Status Five records. The first specimen was found dead at Tusket, Yarmouth County, on 16 December 1910 by W.H. Robbins (Allen 1916). Two were taken at Canso, Guysborough County, one shot by Appleton Roberts on 28 December 1928 and the other by Robert Keating on 10 December 1933. Both birds were mounted and the second was acquired by the Nova Scotia Museum. On 29 May 1971, workmen found a barn owl sheltering in an industrial building in Amherst. As it appeared to be injured, it was taken by Evelyn Lowerison to the Canadian Wildlife Service offices in nearby Sackville, New Brunswick. There the bird was photographed and, when unrestrained, flew strongly back toward Amherst. The fifth bird was found dead in mid-January 1977 in a lobster pot in Lower Argyle, Yarmouth County, by Larry MacKenzie.
Remarks The common Barn-Owl approximates the Short-eared Owl in size. Highly nocturnal, it spends the daylight hours well concealed, often in the hayloft in a barn, where it will sometimes nest.
It is resident from British Columbia, southern Ontario, and New England south, and widely elsewhere in the world.
Barn owls prey very heavily on mice and other small rodents but unfortunately are so rare in Nova Scotia that they are of no economic importance here.
All 11 species of owls known to occur in Nova Scotia are protected by provincial statute.
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Photo courtesy of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center