Every Friday night I have a small job to do. I used to be a relief driver for a local courier company until my back told me I’d better quit. I’m still on the payroll, however, doing a small but light delivery job every Friday night. Truth is, none of the regular drivers wants to do a Friday night job. This simple delivery involves taking some newspapers and several light boxes to nearby town, leaving at about 9:30pm. Not much good for seeing any birds.
Except nocturnal birds.
A few weeks ago I had just pulled out of our driveway when a Barn Owl swooped down from a nearby tree, snatched something from the road surface and then flew off with its supper, probably a mouse. If I had been going at speed it would have become another road kill. I was just only beginning to accelerate, so I didn’t hit it.
Barn Owls are common and widespread throughout South Australia but one usually only gets to see one in the car headlights as it crosses a road at night, or being mobbed by smaller birds while roosting in a tree.
Sadly, I don’t yet have a photo of this species. UPDATE: I forgot that do have several photos – see one below.
Post updated on July 12th 2015.
Last Friday evening I was away from home for about an hour. Driving home I saw a nocturnal bird that I do not see all that often.
Sitting on a fence post opposite our driveway was a Barn Owl. It has been quite a few months since my last sighting around here. I fact, I haven’t even heard one for some time either. Its screeching call at night can be quite chilling – if you don’t know what it is.
Of course, being nocturnal, I do not have a photo, so go to the Birds in Backyards site for a photo, plus more information and a map showing distribution in Australia.
This species of owl is widespread throughout Australia, its preferred habitat being open farmland or open woodland. It feeds on small mammals, especially rats and mice, plus frogs, lizards, insects and small birds.
UPDATE: In 2010 I was able to get several good photos of the Barn Owl at Taronga Zoo, Sydney during the Free Flight Bird Show there.