|Barn Owl - Photographs by Karsen Bell|
While at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center recently, I met Karsen Bell, a 15 year old naturalist who shared his fantastic barn owl pictures with me. I asked him to share his discovery with you in his own words.
"In the late summer of 2014, while I was at my grandparents, I went into a barn that had been damaged by fire. I heard noises and went to investigate with my flashlight. I came upon a Barn Owl with four owlets. I had my camera with me since I never know when I’ll have an opportunity to take a picture. I gently approached the owlets, and began taking pictures."
Owlet in the barn nest - Karsen Bell
|Owlet posing for a closeup - Karsen Bell|
One of the adults flew into the trees at the edge of the field as the other landed on the ground. A mockingbird was bothering the owl on the ground and distracting it, which is why Karsen was able to get so close. Both owls made hissing sounds and then the owl on the ground flew into the trees.
|Barn owl on the ground - "Where is that %^$ mockingbird? - Karsen Bell|
"Ghostly pale and strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss."
|The momma or the papa? - Karsen Bell|
|Barn Owl populations in the US - barnowlbox.com|
Thanks to Karsen and his aunt for sending the pictures and story. I hope to have more from him in the future. If you know a young Missouri naturalist with a story to tell, send it to me. They are our future.