Barn Owls

Until this week, I had never seen a barn owl in the wild. While they are found on every continent except North America, they are rare in Canada. It is estimated that there are fewer than 1000 in Canada in total, most of which are found in southern British Columbia. While walking Brock in a local park one evening, we met an individual who said he had seen a barn owl in that very park, at dusk. The next day, we returned to the park at dusk, and were fortunate to encounter the owl. It flew right over us. I did not have my camera with me, so I again returned to the park at dusk with my camera the following evening and was fortunate to encounter the owl. (It is likely that there is a nest in a barn owl nesting box located in an inaccessible part of the park.) In four visits at dusk, we were able to see the owl on each occasion.

Photo taken almost 30 minutes after sunset.
Last night, we saw the owl sitting on a swallow nesting box, patiently watching for motion in the grassy fields nearby. As I approached, it was clearly aware of me, but sensing no danger , it remained on the post while I crept closer. It soon became apparent that it had detected a rodent moving in the grass and it closely observed and listened for movement, as it became darker.
After about 20 minutes, the owl pounced into the long grass. It was apparent that the owl had managed to catch a small rodent, as the owl did not reappear. After about five minutes, I cautiously approached and took the following photo, as the owl spread out its wings to hide its catch from me. It was quite dark at this point (photo shot at ISO 5000.)
At this time it was about 40 minutes after sunset.

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