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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Day-flying Barn Owl near Caherciveen

Although you will see documentaries with footage of Barn Owls gliding around meadows in sunlight, these will not have been filmed in Ireland. Rather, this is most likely to be in Britain where hunting in daylight is much more frequent.

In Ireland, a day-flying Barn Owl is a much rarer sight and often a sign of a bird in trouble. This bird below hunted for at least an hour over rough fields and bog, in mid-afternoon today, near Caherciveen. Chances are that, with the recent incessant heavy rain and strong winds, this bird was close to starving, and was forced to try and take advantage of a rare lull in the weather to hunt.

(with thanks to Annette O'Leary and Pat McDaid).

Barn Owl, near Caherciveen, 30th December 2015 (M.O'Clery).

Often, it is not long before a day-flying Barn Owl will attract the unwanted attention of mobbing crows. In the photo below, the owl is not in flight, but adopting a 'threat posture' by drooping both wings and holding its' head bowed in order to look larger and intimidate the nearby Hooded Crows.

Barn Owl with a nearby mobbing Hooded Crow (M.O'Clery).

See this video clip for more...

Day-flying Barn Owl, in flight, and threat posture (M.O'Clery).

The risk of this bird venturing out during daylight might well have paid off, as it was seen diving into tall grass after prey. Hopefully it caught something tasty.

Barn Owl diving into long grass for prey (M.O'Clery).