New York Natural Heritage Program
Barn Owl
Tyto alba (Scopoli, 1769)
Barn Owl US DOI-Bureau of Reclamation
Family: Barn Owls (Tytonidae)

State Protection: Protected Bird
Defined as a Protected Bird by New York State law. This species may not be hunted or taken at any time in New York.

Federal Protection: Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act implements various treaties and conventions between the U. S. and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the former Soviet Union for the protection of migratory birds. Under this Act, taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds, including nests or eggs, is unlawful unless specifically permitted by other regulations.

State Rarity Rank: S1S2
A State Rarity Rank of S1S2 means: Critically Imperiled or Imperiled in New York - Especially or very vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to rarity or other factors; typically 20 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or steep declines. More information is needed to assign a single conservation status.

Global Rarity Rank: G5
A Global Rarity Rank of G5 means: Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Did you know?
In New York, resident barn owls nest in all seasons and will double brood within a year if the prey populations are abundant. For example, in 1938 a female laid eggs in March and the again in November. The following year, the same female had nestlings in July then again in December (Levine 1998).

State Ranking Justification [-]
While Barn Owls are difficult to locate because they rarely vocalize and are nocturnal, a comparison of the two New York Breeding Bird Atlases show that the number of blocks where Barn Owls have been reported has greatly declined. During the first Breeding Bird Atlas, Barn Owls were reported from 126 Breeding Bird Atlas blocks with 64 blocks where probable or confirmed breeding was recorded (Andrle and Carroll 1988). Between 2000 and 2005, the second Breeding Bird Atlas reported a total of 28 blocks. Fourteen of those blocks were recorded as probable or confirmed breeding (McGowan and Corwin 2008). The current breeding records are largely clustered from three areas: Staten Island, Kennedy Airport, and the north shore area of Long Island around Oyster Bay. Barn Owls now appear to be very rare in upstate New York and not particularly regular in their occurrence. In addition, breeding success for this species often depends on human intervention such as the placement of nest boxes in suitable habitat.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]