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

© 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...

Register Now for 2015 Spring/Summer Adult Softball Leagues

OWENSBORO, Ky. (3/3/15) — The Owensboro Parks and Recreation Department is currently taking registrations for the… Read More

Owensboro Board of Commissioners Commission Meeting March 3

OWENSBORO, Ky. (3/2/15) — The Owensboro Board of Commissioners will hold a Commission meeting at 5 p.m., on Tuesday,… Read More

Most Read This Week

March 02, 2015 7871

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 25, 2015 7701

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 24, 2015 7485

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 22, 2015 7324

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 25, 2015 6182

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 23, 2015 5330

Fire Departments Respond to Wester's Body Shop

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Shawn Freels

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 09, 2015

Police Pursue Man after Fight at Taco Bell

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Today

March 02, 2015 7871

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 02, 2015 2395

HCSO, MPD Join to Bust Alleged Drug Trafficking…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
March 02, 2015 2068

Officers Respond to Complaint of Drug Use; Arrest…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 02, 2015 1502

Job Fair Tomorrow in Madisonville

in Hopkins News by Kentucky Career Center
March 02, 2015 1447

UPDATE: Escapee Apprehended

in Top News For All Sites by Stu Recke
March 02, 2015 1304

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - March 2, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
March 02, 2015 1233

Locals Flock to Yoga for Unique Wellness Technique

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 02, 2015 1116

Dawson Springs Man Charged Multiple Offenses Plus…

in Hopkins News by Melissa Heflin
March 02, 2015 913

Two Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
March 02, 2015 857

Commission Approves Anton Road/Aubrey Prow Lane…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News