The Barn Owl

December 23, 2010

We used to have five Barn Owls roosting in one of the ventilation shafts of our apartment building, several years go. Residents complained about their constant chirring all night, and the fact that half-eaten rodents were dropped in the basement. So the building association set some poisoned meat for them and one of the Owls died. I then explained to as many of the residents as I could meet, how the owls were actually controlling the rat population in the neighbourhood. As compromise, we blocked off the entrance to the ventilation shaft with a wire mesh. The residents were happy with this solution, I was happy that the owls would not be poisoned…but sad that I couldn’t see these beautiful birds.

But now, the rodents have brought the Barn Owls back. I’ve been seeing a Shikra, too, regularly; at dusk, it often picks up a rat and sits on a tree in the Mini-Forest to consume its repast.

Yesterday, my neighbours Krupakar and Poonam showed me an owl sitting on the compound wall of my apartment:

barn owl ca 221210

Alas, the traffic drove it away after a while, and I could not get a better photograph than this…but it’s good to know that the owls are back! Who knows, maybe we’ll get rat snakes too, soon….


is a good photograph by Rajneesh Suvarna.