Blickling Estate: a barn owls' home
Blickling Estate is ‘home’ to many barn owls. The park has everything a barn owl needs; it’s grasslands are teeming with small mammals for them to eat and with hundreds of old trees full of holes and traditional buildings, there are plenty of places for them to build their nests.
You can see barn owls hunting in the woods – up by the pyramid mausoleum is a good spot – where there are plenty of trees for nesting and great places for them to hunt for food.
Barn owls are specialist hunters, their big eyes great at seeing in low light and they have specialist hearing which helps them to accurately pin-point their prey. They fly silently and slowly and can appear to hover over the small rodents they hunt. Once they see something, they will give a brief beat of their wings and then drop feet first, thrusting their talons into the vegetation.
They’re famous for flying at night and often are seen at dusk, however they do fly in the daytime when they have young to feed. They don’t store much fat so need to hunt and feed quite regularly to avoid starvation.
There are species of barn owl on all of the world’s continents (except for Antarctica) and they are easily recognised by their distinctive appearance both when perching and in the air.
Barn owls normally hatch four chicks but only two or three usually fledge. When fully grown, they have a wingspan of around 110cm and weigh between 470-570g. Their wings are very long for their body which helps them to fly silently.