Psst. I have a confession to make. I don’t believe a recent contributor to the listserv hosting the discussion among North Dakota birders.
It teased me right there in the subject line–“barn owls.” This got my attention since I’ve never seen one in this state. But after reading the body of the text my initial excitement went away.
“I have been listening to barn owls here at our farm a mile westÂ of XXX, North Dakota for many years.Â Â Â â†”Â Â Â Â (Â Holy cow,Â why don’t I know about this?)Â Â â†”Â Â I just saw at a USGS site (and then checked my Sibley’s) that they are not normally in this area.Â Â Â â†”Â Â Â (No kidding)Â Â Â â†”Â Â Is this true, or is it just the maps have not caught up with reality?Â Â Â Â â†”Â Â (trust me, it’s true)Â Â â†”Â Â I have lived here since 1989 and have been hearing that blood-curdling scream since I moved here.Â In fact, since it is nice out, my windows were open last night and I listened to them for several hours.Â Â Â â†”Â Â (ugh)
Very suspicious that this person does not mention ever seeing these “barn” owls. Taken together with the fact that the extremely common great horned owl also regularly nests in barns and is known to issue “blood-curdling screams,” and add the extreme rarity of barn owls in North Dakota, well,Â I think I’ll save my car’s gas for another day.