A predominantly nocturnal bird of prey, found in the coastal plain of the Solway and the Eden Valley. Breeding pairs in Cumbria 150-200
Habitat - open country, agricultural land below 300m.
Appearance- Size 33 –35 cm. A heart shaped face, long narrow wings and long legs. Flight is slow and low near the ground, they hover when hunting, which is mainly at night.
Voice – a piercing shriek which sounds like a bloodcurdling scream
Food – small mammals, birds & sometimes bats
Population changes/ conservation – Specially protected since numbers dropped in 20th century due to agricultural practices using herbicides & rodenticides, also poor food supplies due to bad winters. Numbers have been helped by provision of nest boxes, reintroduction of hay meadows and conservation of rough grassland around field edges providing wildlife / hunting corridors.
There are also several other types of owl.