Why Do Barn Owls Never Seem To Lose Their Hearing, Even With Old Age?


Barn owls, nocturnal and hunters of the night, fly smoothly. Also, as stated by barnowltrust.org Barn owls have incredible hearing, even as they enter old age! How can this be?

Barn owls usually hunt for small mammals, which include rats, mice, voles, bats, rabbits, and occasionally shrews, blackbirds, and meadowlarks. All these creatures lurk out at night, which is ideal for a Barn Owl. Being nocturnal, it is darker out, but quiet. The Barn owl may have big eyes, but it can’t see its prey easily. It uses its outstanding hearing to hear its prey fly, rustle through grass, and screech or squeak.

Some facts about Barn owls, provided by barnowltrust.org.

  • The opening of a barn owls ears are actually behind its eyes.

  • One ear is higher than the other..

  • The shape of its face brings the sound to its ears, trapping it.

  • Owl ears are shaped differently from each other.

The truth behind their everlasting hearing is that, like most birds, they are able to naturally regenerate hair cells in the basilar papilla, also known as the auditory canal in most birds. With these always cells always renewing, birds like the Barn owl can hear for years, which benefits the birds because hearing is part of their survival.