Tag Archives: Keep Barn Owls in Berkeley

How the Barn Owl became Berkeley’s official bird

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By Lisa Owens Viani

Lisa Owens Viani, co-founder of Raptors Are The Solution, recalls how her passion for owls began in Berkeley and led to possibly the least controversial Berkeley city council resolution ever passed: the designation of the Barn Owl as the city’s official bird.

My owl obsession began when I moved to Berkeley in 2003. One evening, while on an evening walk with a friend, she pointed out what she thought was the sound of someone breathing with the help of a respirator in a house on Edwards Street. That didn’t seem quite right — I instantly thought “bird” — but I wasn’t expecting to hear owls in such an urban spot.

I called a birder friend who suggested the possibility of a Barn Owl. Sure enough, upon closer inspection, we confirmed that the sound was coming from a Canary Island palm tree behind the house with the “respirator.” Then we spotted Barn Owls flying in and out of the tree, pearl white in the dark sky, backlit by the moon, making trip after trip to feed their young. … Continue reading »

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Look who’s on Hillcrest

Barn owls roosting in a palm tree in a front yard on Hillcrest. Photo: Lee Aurich
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Berkeleysider Lee Aurich sent in some vivid photos of a family of barn owls roosting in a palm tree on Hillcrest Road in the Claremont Uplands neighborhood.

(We thought “Hoo’s on Hillcrest?” would be a great headline, but birders know that barn owls don’t hoot, they shriek.)

Do other Berkeleysiders have families of owls in their yards? Let us know.

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