16" x 20"
oil on canvas
[click on the image to enlarge]
Barn Owls are fairly common and widespread although not seen nearly as often as other less common birds. However they do tend to start hunting at dusk and stay active into the early morning after dawn, especially during the summer when they are feeding young and their choice of nesting sites is sometimes not very private.
So finding one hunting in the open after dawn is not too rare.
They are highly desired in many areas because their diet is primarily rodents. A nesting pair can dispatch more than a thousand rodents in a year.
They do not hoot. And they are not part of the typical or 'true' owl family. The owl pellets they produce consisting of the remnants of fur, bones, etc. from their meals are widely dissected in high school biology classes.
The model for this Barn Owl was from a great photo taken by Steve Stump - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevestump/9233102080/
[used with permission]
Slightly different camera settings for this photograph.