The Barn Owl can be found in the Raptor Roost outside in our Boatyard.

The Barn Owl is found in the Mississippi River watershed. Barn owls are a natural form of pest control given their diet of small rodents and mammals. They are cavity nesters, meaning they nest in cavities versus building their own nest.

Fast Facts: 

  • Also known as: Death Owl, Ghost Owl
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Life Span: An average of 4 years in the wild; Up to 20 years in captivity
  • Wingspan: 2-3.5 feet
  • Weight: 1 to 1.5 pounds (400-900 grams)
  • Group Name: Parliament
  • Conservation Status: Least concern; Iowa lists as endangered



  • Medium owl with long round wings, and short tail.
  • Breast is pale. Back and wings are brown.
  • Round head with a heart face. No feather tufts. 
  • Dark eyes.
  • Due to the vast range, there are noticeable size and color differences locally.


  • Rodents (primarily voles)
  • Small mammals (shrews, bats, rabbits)

Main Predators:

  • Eagles, hawks, large owls
  • Raccoons
  • Snakes (eggs and babies)
  • Carnivorous mammals


  • Nest in cavities such as woodpecker holes and old trees. Will use ledges and cavities of human structures such as barns or nest boxes; breeding season in April in Iowa 
  • Lay 3 to 8 eggs per clutch. In Iowa, a pair may successfully raise 2 broods a year 
    Incubation is 1 month 
  • Fully Grown at 6 weeks, Fledge at 9 weeks 
  • An estimated 70% of offspring will not reach age 1 (this is typical for raptors) 
  • Can start breeding at 1 year old


  • Nocturnal 
  • Vocalizations are a series of screeches/screams
  • Did You Know? Owls are frequently the subject of myths and legends. Some cultures view them as a bad omen or an omen of death.