The Barn Owl is the ubiquitous, but seldom seen, owl of the nighttime. If you see one in the daylight it was probably flushed...fortunate for you, but a nuisance for the owl.
Most birds, Barn Owls included, don't have the luxury of sleeping as we know it. There is too much danger in their world to rest unaware of their surroundings.
Nevertheless, a 'morning' stretch (sunset actually) feels good.
Gravelly footsteps signaled someone approaching. The Big Wash in Arizona is a dry riverbed for most of the year, making it hard to sneak up on a resting owl.
Both male and female flew away in ghostly whooshes, luckily, not that far away. This leads me to believe they are hiding something in a cliff crevice.
I was sorry for disrupting their crevice-in-a-cliff home, but I wanted to see them in early evening light.
The male returns to check out this new intrusion. It's nesting season so he wants to know the comings and goings of strangers.
These beautiful owls with heart-shaped faces are more aware of people than we are of them. Barn Owls populate the world in 46 different races*.
Unless you trespass into their comfort zone they won't acknowledge your passing. They have nothing to gain in giving their presence away.
The larger and slightly more colorful female is on the right. The male is on the left.
With little likelihood of ever seeing what they are hiding deep in their cliff crevice, we can only hope for another generation of beautiful Barn Owls like these.
Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology,
All About Birds
Sibley's Guide to Birds
*What is the Difference between Race and Ethnicity? Race is associated with biology, whereas ethnicity is associated with culture. In biology, races are genetically distinct populations within the same species; they typically have relatively minor morphological and genetic differences.