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A Barn Owl’s amazing powers of hearing

Barn Owl Perch Hunting

A Barn Owl listens for prey

Did you know that Barn Owls can hunt even on the darkest nights, using only their super sensitive hearing?

Barn Owls usually hunt for tiny Field Voles, Shrews or Wood Mice, which often come out at night and hide under long grass. Even with a Barn Owl’s large eyes they cannot see their prey, so the Barn Owl has to use its amazing hearing to find its prey.

8 Amazing facts about Barn Owl hearing:

  1. A Barn Owl’s ear openings are placed just behind the eyes.
  2. The feathers on the edge of a Barn Owl’s heart shaped face create a disc, which works to trap and focus sound, rather like our outer ears.
  3. Owl ears are each shaped differently from one another.
    A Barn Owl ear opening (Melanie Lindenthal)

    Barn Owl ears are hidden in the feathers at the side of the face

  4. One ear is higher than the other.
  5. During flight, the left ear captures sounds below, whilst the right ear focuses on sounds from above.
  6. The Barn Owl’s 2 different ears allow the owl’s brain to work out exactly where its prey is hiding – even in the dark or under long grass.
  7. A Barn Owl’s very soft feathers enable silent flight – so the owl can listen out for tiny sounds from voles or mice.
  8. A Barn Owl’s survival depends on its amazing powers of super hearing!

What is it like to be a Barn Owl and hunt for your dinner in the dark, using only your hearing? Find out by playing this fun Barn Owl Hunting Game.