Demise of a Barn Owl

Friends of mine on the coast have a large garden and goats. Two nights ago they found this little barn owl dead in the goat yard. They’re pretty sure it was the work of a Great Horned Owl, a much larger (and territorial) owl. A raccoon got at it last night, and someone had taken the wings, and they were going to bury the remains. So I grabbed it. Look at those claws!

These are beautiful creatures, with a white face mask outlined with a heart-shaped ring of dark feathers (lower part of which you see here). I’m going to render the skull (boiling to remove flesh, immerse in ammonia for 10 days, clean some more, then in strong (35%) hydrogen peroxide to whiten).

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

7 Responses to Demise of a Barn Owl

  1. The youngest daughter and I can go out to an enormous vineyard nearby, and as dusk turns into darkness, the barn owls fly out of a nearby eucalyptus grove and down to a well lit yard in the middle of the vineyard, which attracts most of the insects in the area. One evening we counted 27 owls going over our heads, in perfect silence.

  2. c w: 27 silent owls, wow! "…Owls are lightweight and have a large wing area, which gives them a buoyant, effortless flight, and eliminates the need for noisy wing flapping. Owl feathers have special modifications that allow silent flight. Their flight feathers are long, soft, and tapered to further reduce sound.…"

Leave a Reply