Barn Owl

Species Name: Tyto alba

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Species Distribution in Massachusetts

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Federal Rank: None

Massachusetts State Rank: Special Concern

Habitat Description

Needs grassy habitats for foraging, such as fresh and salt-water marshes and agricultural fields that support populations of Meadow Voles, a primary food source. Deep snow and prolonged cold make it difficult for them to forage successfully. Often found in hollow trees, cliffs and riverbank cavities, nest boxes, barns and bridges.

Threats to Survival

They prefer warmer climates with milder winters, and because of their lack of strongly developed migratory patterns and their tendency to experience starvation during the winter, they are unlikely to establish a strong population in Massachusetts. Changes in agricultural practices also contribute to the population decline, but because of its secretive nature it is difficult to fully determine what their true population numbers in the state are.

Actions Recommended to Ensure Survival

Limiting habitat destruction, predation, illegal shooting and nest disturbance are likely to help. Decreasing use of insecticides and rodenticides to increase prey populations also plays a key role in increasing their population numbers.