The Barn Owl is a species of owl found throughout the southern tier of the United States, preferring areas with milder winters. In the Tucson area, this common owl is found in not only urban areas, but in the foothills of surrounding mountains, including the Santa Ritas to the south.
The Barn Owl is medium in size, with a bright white heart shaped face. Unlike many owls, the Barn Owl’s ears have no tufts. The upperparts on the owl are orange to brown with tiny white specks. Underneath, the bird is white with black spots.
The Barn Owl does not make a hooting sound, as many people associate with owls. Their prey consists of small birds and mammals. They feed at night, using their uncanny hearing to screen out objectionable sounds while focusing on those that mean prey is nearby. An unfortunately critter caught by the swooping owl is swallowed whole.
Reference: The Nature of Madera Canyon by Douglas W. Moore, Friends of Madera, 1999; whatbird.com