The Barn owl is one of our best known and loved owl species. They are resident across the UK, where suitable habitat and sufficient nesting sites can be found, along with an abundance of their favoured prey of voles. It surprises many people to discover that the Barn owl is one of the most successful and widespread owl species globally, as they appear on just about every continent, barring Antarctica!
Seeing one float past a game lodge in South Africas` Kruger park once, seemed somehow incongruous to an English chap, hefted to the idea that they should perhaps only exist in a Cotswoldian rural idyll, but see one I did.
I have had experience with Barn owls in the past, rearing, training and flying three of them over time (all of which were aviary bred A.B.C.R). I would certainly not recommend one as a pet. Birds of prey require disciplined daily commitment and detailed knowledge to keep them successfully long term. Hacking back or releasing is an involved and licensed matter to undertake. They do not make good aviary birds either, as they hide all day and can be very vocal all night.
Barn owls in the wild here exist on something of knife edge as they are a niche species and cannot easily adapt or cope in a rapidly changing habitat or weather situation. Numbers can fluctuate wildly from year to year, as they are soon starved out in a big freeze or when ground is flooded or rain is prolonged. Likewise, a dearth of voles in some years will affect breeding adversely. They are also predated by other raptors, whose numbers are on the up, such as Peregrines and Goshawks. Add to that the loss of suitable nesting sites and monoculture farming and it is easy to see why they need our help.
Further reading on barn owls can be found here http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk and http://www.barnowlsurvey.org.uk
The Law – If you find a dead owl or Bird of Prey and wish to have it mounted.
Barn Owl taxidermy
The Barn Owl in these images was mounted as a commission for the client, who found the owl and owned the carcass. We were paid only for the service of mounting it. The carcass was not sold, traded or bartered. It is not on our site to gain or encourage sales enquiries for Barn owls. It is on the site for illustrative purposes only, solely to demonstrate our ability with this species.
For taxidermists the main source of barn owls, aside from those which drown in water troughs, is from members of the public who find them as road casualties. The barn owls mode of low, quartering flight over open ground, and its lack of any peripheral vision, mean that in areas where they are common, the numbers killed by cars are sadly disproportionately high. According to the Barn Owl trust, three to five thousand barn owls a year are killed on our roads (http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/). Also, they are almost pure white, so dead ones are probably more often seen and picked up than say a Tawny Owl which, due to its naturally camouflaged plumage, could lie unnoticed.
This particular barn owl was a road casualty, mounted as a commissioned piece for the client. We mounted this one with its wings slightly dropped open, looking to its left to show the superb markings on them. The client provided the weathered fence post.
This mount consists of the following components:
THIS MOUNT IS A COMMISSIONED PIECE AND IS NOT FOR SALE.