Barn owl (Tyto alba) bodies are primed for predation, with heart-shaped facial discs that funnel sound into their ears, alerting them to the rustlings of small mammals, snakes, fish, and insects. Their eyes are twice as light sensitive as our own, giving them superior night vision, and they’ll also sway and bob their heads slowly to increase their depth perception.
Once an owl has honed in on a victim, the downy feathers on its wings and legs enable it to swoop down without making a sound and grab the animal with strong talons. Barn owls’ three-foot wingspan is also huge in relation to their one-pound weight, which lets them quietly glide rather than flap.
Like many owls, barn owls swallow prey whole, then regurgitate tough material like fur and bone into what’s called an owl pellet.