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The Barn Owl

Life Science - Middle School

 
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Nesting & Ma ting Habits The breeding season of barn owls begins as early as March and may last until October. Barn owls do not construct their own nests. They nest in open silos, barns and other buildings in rural areas or in human-made nest boxes. Barn owls stay with one mate for life. A pair of owls will incubate 2-3 broods of 2-18 eggs each during the nesting season. The female incubates the eggs for 30-34 days, starting with the first laid egg. Hatching occurs in the same order as the eggs were laid usually a day or two apart, so that various ages and sizes can be observed in a brood. On average, 3-4 young survive the nesting period and leave the nest at 8 to 10 weeks of age. Hunting Techniques Barn owls are primarily nocturnal hunters but may hunt before dusk and around dawn when feeding young, and in daylight during winter. They hunt using their exceptional hearing and low-light vision. While they can see during the day, their relatively small eyes are directed forward and are better adapted for night vision. Their facial disk directs sound into their ear holes, which are located beneath the feathers on each side of their face. These openings are different sizes; one is level with the nostril and the other is higher, nearer the forehead. This enables the owls to sense direction and distance of the sound by differences in the sound intensity that reaches each ear. Barn owls are so good at locating prey by sound that they can do so even when the prey is completely hidden from view. Prey is normally swallowed whole, with indigestible body parts such as hair, feathers and bones regurgitated in the form of a large pellet. Owl photos courtesy of USFWS. A barn owl is a bird of prey adapted to live near humans. It has a round head without ear tufts and a heart-shaped white face. Barn owls nest in silos, barns and other buildings in rural areas. They prey almost exclusively on mice and other small rodents, making them excellent pest control. A family of two adults and six young may consume over 1,000 rodents during the 3-month nesting period. Like all owls, they have superb hearing, giving them the ability to hunt prey by sound alone. The Barn Owl The Barn Owl: At a Glance Classification: Bird (Raptor) Habitat: Large areas of pasture, hayfields, grasslands or wet meadows around farms and rural towns Weight: Males, 14-19 ounces; females, 17-25 ounces Length: Males, 13-15 inches; females, 14-20 inches Wingspan: Males, 41-45 inches; females, 43-47 inches Life Expectancy: Typically 3-4 years; high mortality the first year Diet: Meadow voles, mice and shrews; bats, skunks and various birds; occasionally frogs, insects and reptiles location of ear holes facial disk dissected owl pellet www.newpathlearning.com © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. 94-4612
Nesting & Ma ting Habits The _______________ _______________ of barn owls begins as early as March and may last until October. Barn owls do not construct their own nests. They nest in open silos, barns and other buildings in rural areas or in human-made nest boxes. Barn owls stay with one mate for life. A pair of owls will incubate ____________ broods of ____________ eggs each during the nesting season. The female incubates the eggs for ____________ days, starting with the first laid egg. ________________ occurs in the same order as the eggs were laid usually a day or two apart, so that various ages and sizes can be observed in a brood. On average, ____________ young survive the nesting period and leave the nest at ____________ weeks of age. Hunting Techniques Barn owls are primarily _________________ hunters but may hunt before dusk and around dawn when feeding young, and in daylight during winter. They hunt using their exceptional _________________ and _______________ ___________. While they can see during the day, their relatively small eyes are directed forward and are better adapted for night vision. Their ________________ _______________ directs _________________ into their ear holes, which are located beneath the feathers on each side of their face. These openings are different sizes; one is level with the _______________ and the other is higher, nearer the _________________ . This enables the owls to sense direction and distance of the sound by differences in the sound ________________ that reaches each ear. Barn owls are so good at locating prey by sound that they can do so even when the prey is completely hidden from view. Owl photos courtesy of USFWS. A barn owl is a ___________ ____ ___________ adapted to live near humans. It has a ___________ head without ___________ ___________ and a __________________ white face. Barn owls nest in silos, barns and other buildings in rural areas. They ___________ almost exclusively on mice and other small rodents, making them excellent pest control. A family of two adults and six young may consume over 1,___________ rodents during the ___________ nesting period. Like all owls, they have superb ___________ , giving them the ability to hunt prey by ___________ alone. The Barn Owl The Barn Owl: At a Glance Classification: Habitat: Weight: Length: Wingspan: Life Expectancy: Diet: ___________________________________________________ ______________________ ______________________ www.newpathlearning.com © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. 94-4612 \|xiBAHBDy01773ozX
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