owl 300FRANKFORT, Ky. (3/21/13) – Researchers need the public's help in finding more nesting sites of Kentucky's remaining barn owls.
 
Barn owls, with their distinctive heart-shaped faces and dark eyes, were plentiful across Kentucky as late as the 1960s. Currently, however, there are only about 25 documented nesting locations statewide.
 
Wildlife biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources need to locate as many barn owl nesting sites as possible to gain a deeper understanding of why this species has declined in the state.
 
Barn owls have gradually lost their historic nesting and foraging habitat as landowners cut down the old trees damaged by storms and converted pastures, hayfields and grasslands to row crops. Biologists, however, are looking for additional reasons for the decline. Researchers are also asking for the public to report any dead barn owls, so that specimens can be collected and examined.
 
Other more common owl species are often confused with barn owls. Barn owls have no ear tufts. They are a medium-sized bird, measuring 14-20 inches tall. However, they can appear larger when in flight due to their 3 1/2-foot wingspan. Barn owls have a whitish face and breast with whitish to pale cinnamon bodies. They do not hoot like some owls species. Instead, they screech and hiss, especially when approached. For more information on identifying barn owls, please see the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife webpage at: http://fw.ky.gov/owlidentification.asp.
 
Barn owls prefer open areas such as hayfields and pasture; they are usually not found in the woods. Although they often nest in hollow trees, barn owls also regularly nest in manmade structures such as old barns, silos, grain bins, chimneys, hay lofts and attics. They also may settle in older residential areas that have larger, cavity-prone trees.
 
Barn owls can nest year-round in Kentucky, although most of the nesting activity occurs from March through August. They do not build a nest of sticks and grass. Instead, they will lay their eggs directly on the surface of the nest site they choose.
 
For more information about barn owls in Kentucky and the research project, go online to http://fw.ky.gov/barnowls.asp.
 
Anyone with information about the location of a barn owl nest or a dead barn owl should contact Wildlife Biologist Kate Heyden at 1-800-858-1549, ext. 4475. Observers can also e-mail Heyden at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
Barn owls are sensitive to disturbance, so if a nest is found, it's best to leave the owls be and avoid attracting attention to it. Researchers are careful to document nests without disturbing the owls.
 
For the protection of owls and landowners, exact nesting locations and landowner information is strictly confidential and will not be released to the public. Information provided to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for this study is used for research purposes only.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Seth Stewart
Photo provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Mustangs Lose to Ohio County via Shutout

GREENVILLE, Ky. (4/27/15) — Visiting Ohio County edged Muhlenberg County 2-0 in a 10th District baseball game Saturday. Read More

Lady Mustangs Take Two from Calloway in Doubleheader

GREENVILLE, Ky. (4/27/15) — Muhlenberg County swept visiting Calloway County in a high school softball doubleheader… Read More

Most Read This Week

April 23, 2015 7710

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News
April 20, 2015 4980

Nortonville Woman Charged with Meth Possession at…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 24, 2015 4306

UPDATE: Police Can't Substantiate Injured Man…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 22, 2015 4038

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 22,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers
April 22, 2015 3958

Madisonville Man Accused of Domestic Violence/Rape

by SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 12600

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 02, 2015 8871

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

April 26, 2015 941

New Drug Helps Farmer with Parkinson's Return to…

by Laura Dawahare
April 26, 2015 567

White Plains Civil War Festival Provides Learning…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 26, 2015 498

College of Education Alum's Studies, Experience…

by Amanda Nelson
April 26, 2015 472

Legislator's Log - Week of April 26, 2015

by Brent Yonts
April 26, 2015 466

Spring Lawn, Garden Fair Participants Learn from…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
April 26, 2015 461

Dave Says - April 26, 2015

by Dave Ramsey
April 26, 2015 447

Mother's Day Buffet Planned at State Parks May 10

by Gil Lawson
April 26, 2015 429

Outdoor Truths - April 26, 2015

by Gary Miller
April 27, 2015 416

Mustangs Lose to Ohio County via Shutout

by Steve LeMaster
April 26, 2015 301

Dawson Springs Mule, Draft Horse Days Come to a…

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News