Another cause of decline has been the reduction in the area of rough pasture; long grass makes good breeding and living territory for voles, which are one of the owl's staple foods. A third depressant has been the ever-increasing volume of traffic; owls tend to hunt low over roads, and are frequently killed by cars.
In spite of all these hazards, barn owl numbers seem to be picking up slightly. The latest survey carried out by the Hawk and Owl Trust and the British Trust for Ornithology suggests that the British population has stabilised at about 4,000 pairs. This is good news, for the sight of a white owl flitting silently through the moonlight is enchanting. Only the bird's call disappoints. Instead of the fruity hoo hoo given out by tawny owls, it utters nothing more romantic than a thin, dry screech.Reuse content