A screech is the best known and most frequent call heard (often given in flight). Variations of this call may be associated with territory defense, alarm, distress or as a mating call.
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Barn Owl – Tyto alba
The Barn Owl is North America’s only member of the, “Monkey-faced”, Tytonidae Owl family. All other North and Central American Owls are members of the Strigidae family, ‘true owls’. The light breast and heart shaped face distinguish this owl from all others. The eyes are dark umber and the bill is straw colored. The sexes are alike although the females tend to be darker overall, particularly on the undersides.
The Barn Owl’s call is not a hoot, as is expected with most owls, it is more of a hiss or screech. Juvenal Great Horned Owls also have a screech and the calls are sometimes mistaken. Visually, the Barn Owls lack the distinctive ear tufts of an adult Great Horned Owl, are smaller, and much lighter in color. Though a nocturnal owl species, it may be seen in the early morning hours just before sunrise or more commonly at dusk as it comes out to hunt. It is a mid-sized owl at 16″ in length. In terms of daytime raptors, it is about the length of a Cooper’s Hawk with a stockier owl shape.