Last month we adopted Tyto, a male Barn Owl (Tyto alba
), as our new Wildlife Ambassador. Tyto was born at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy (who run our Birds in Motion demonstrations) and comes to help educate our visitors and school children on owls and birds of prey.
Barn Owls inhabit old trees and man-made roosts (such as barns) in the wild. They feed mainly on rodents and hunt over open fields. Like most owls, they have an extremely keen sense of hearing and can hear their prey well before they spot it.
In Ontario, Barn Owls are listed as endangered and in British Columbia they are a species of special concern. Historically they were never found in huge numbers in British Columbia, but with the clearing of land for farming Barn Owls increased in numbers due to the increase in food availability. Now, with much of our farm land being converted to housing structures or changed to green house type high-intensity use, Barn Owl numbers appear to be on the decline.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Tyto on your next visit to the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife!