Can barn owls and bats co-exist?

infonose(10b)March 3, 2005

I am planning to put up a bat house. I recently learned that barn owls are relatively easy to attract, and they eat rodents. Since my cat has retired from hunting, I am interested in rodent control. My question: if I provide shelters and am lucky enough to have both owls and a bat colony, will the owls eat the bats?

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dampflippers(Tyne & Wear UK)

Owls definitely eat bats, but I don't know more than that.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 5:27PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Barn owks mostly eat mice and voles. They have shared the planet with bats for a few million years and have no appreciable effect on bat populations.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 6:56PM
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In studies that have been done on Barn Owl pellet analysis, I don't know of any that have found bats. If they do take bats, I am sure it is purely opportunistic. They take primarily voles and mice. Therefore, you needn't worry about Barn Owls feeding on your bats. I think morphologically, they would have a difficult time catching a bat since they are designed to hover and pounce on their prey.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 12:34AM
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dampflippers(Tyne & Wear UK)

I was told by someone who had bats living in a tree in the neighbouring garden that she had seen owls attacking them as they left or returned to their roost.
On the other hand 2 years ago we had a holiday in France in a converted priory. There were lots of bats if several sorts. There were also owls nesting in one of the buildings, and they always flew off to hunt.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 5:29AM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

I suspect an alert bat can detect owls with its "radar" and escape being caught.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 4:15PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I live out in the country on 14 acres of mostly forested land and we have barn owls and bats. They seem to peacefully co-exist and I've never seen the owls bother the bats or vice versa.

What we do have is two owls that fly together and hunt together. They have been here the entire time we've owned this property--about 8 years now. One is a barn owl and the other is a screech owl. The barn owl always flies from one location to the other. Seconds later the screech owl follows and lands near him/her. The barn owl will hoot. The screech owl will screech. We call them (obviously) Hooty and Screechy. They are ALWAYS together. I don't know if the way they have teamed up together is "normal" or not, but I think it is cute!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 9:45PM
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That's neat!! What a great story!! thanks OkieDawn! Sarah

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 11:10AM
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I've never heard of bat houses actually attracting bats. The best thing you can do to attract them is to stop using pesticides of any kind, since many bat species feed on flying insects. We see them occasionally, and we live in an old, built-up suburb. They will roost in attics if they can get in, but that's not a great idea, since bats do carry rabies. Welcome them, but not in your house.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 12:46PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Elaine - I know of several bathouses that have succeeded, but it takes a lot of effort to find the right place for them as the bats are very picky. I think a lot of people put up unsuitable houses that they purchase at Home Depot or the like, and then put them up any which way and never see a bat. That doesn't mean the houses can't work, though.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 10:49PM
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One thing is said, don't try to attract Barn Owls if you have a
Great Horned that stays around. Great Horned will kill the Barn owl babies.
Otherwise Barn Owls are in a serious decline and if you can help them out I would certainly try to do so. I don't think bats are an issue with Barn Owls. Maybe a different type of Owl?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 7:08PM
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How do you attract barn owls? What are Great Horned?

I have lots of voles/mice and I thought it might be a good idea to try to attract some owls - I have no idea how though....

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 1:07PM
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