Thursday, August 30, 2018

American Barn Owl in Vancouver

One of the highlights of my recent visit to Vancouver for the International Ornithological Congress and the COSEWIC (Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Bird Specialist Subcommittee meeting was seeing 10 Barn Owls. My international friends may be surprised by this because Barn Owls are common globally, and American Barn Owls are also common on this continent. Most of Canada, however, is beyond the range of the species. The only two areas where Barn Owls occur regularly in Canada are in southern Ontario (the eastern population is almost extirpated and listed as Endangered in Canada) and southwest British Columbia (listed as Threatened in Canada).  This magnificent Barn Owl (three photos below) on a day roost (presumably a female based on colouration and the size and extent of spotting), glowing red in the smoky air wafting over the city from northern forest fires, left a lasting impression on the whole committee. Note how powerful the talons of these owls, so useful is dispatching large rodents, are:

(American) Barn Owl (Tyto alba pratincola OR Tyto furcata pratincola), British Columbia, Canada, © Christian Artuso.

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