Click on any of the main images for a larger view

26 July 2013

How long does a Barn Owl live?

Two year old female Barn Owl, Co. Kerry, 24th July 2013 (M.O'Clery).

Barn Owls are generally short lived birds, and since ringing of Barn Owls began in Ireland in 2008 only a handful of birds ever caught and ringed have been three or more years old. This is a two year old, a female, which was trapped at the same site as last year, an old mansion in Kerry in July 2012 (you can see an account of that on this page HERE)

Barn Owls which are kept in captivity regularly live to be 15 or even 20 years old, but they obviously don't face the same hazards as a bird in the wild. In Ireland, our studies show that at least half of all birds which fledge from the nest will not make it to their first birthday, and it is rare indeed to find a five year old bird. There are a number of sites which we know have been occupied by Barn Owls for 20 or more years, but this does not mean it is the same individual owls in residence, rather there has been a whole series of replacements over the years.