Photo of head of male white breasted barn owl.
Do you believe in ghosts? Picture this. It’s a clear night and you are walking home along a country lane with no streetlights or cars. There’s no one else around. It’s spooky. Your route takes you past a church and graveyard. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you think you see a white shape floating above the ground. You dare to look towards it and it disappears. You tell yourself you are imagining things and walk a few more steps. Then the ghostly white shape reappears! It is definitely real, it hovers above the ground, it appears to be flying and then it turns towards you!! Two black eyes are looking straight at you, they seem to be looking into your very soul! GULP! The ghostly shape dives to the ground and then flies up and away. An ear-piercing scream fills the air. You run the fastest you have run in your life. You crash into your house, lock the door and hide. WHAT WAS THAT!

Do you believe in ghosts? Over the centuries, many people have told tales of haunted graveyards and ghostly shapes flying in the dead of night. They say the ghost has two staring black eyes. It shrieks and screams like a banshee but it moves silently. It MUST be a ghost!

Maybe it is but what if it’s one of these!

A white breasted barn owl is most likely to hunt at night. It flies silently, the underside of its wings are white. It has two staring black eyes. When it finds prey, it hovers and then drops to the ground to capture its dinner. Barns owls do not hoot, they do shriek – very loudly. Although their name suggests they would live in barns, they do like church towers – high off the ground, away from predators and they can bring up their young undisturbed.

A reasonable explanation for ghostly goings on? We’d like to think so.

But then, maybe we’re wrong………………Happy Halloween!

4 thoughts on “Owls, ghosts and noises in the night

  1. I have found some owl pellets and droppings under a house martin nest the sort made by RSPB I think it is pottery what sort of owl would roost in here so far I have not seen one this year

    • Hello Susan
      Difficult to say what sort of an owl it might be. The only owl small enough to get in a House Martin’s nest box would be a Little Owl (Athene Noctua). Perhaps an owl has been perched above it and left the pellet before flying off?
      The Owls Trust

    • Hi Katie. This is quite a difficult question to answer as there are so many species of owl, more than 200, throughout the world. Some species are endangered and, in some cases, it is not possible to establish true figures. As this article was about the Barn Owl we can say that their numbers in the UK have been greatly reduced over time as their usual habitat is disappearing and food source drying up as farming methods change. However, the good news is that Barn owl nesting boxes are being put up in suitable sites and a good number of these are proving successful.

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