Barn Owls are silent, deadly predators with a taste for mice and other small to medium sized rodents. Because of their white color (on the belly) and stealthy night flights, they are sometimes called ghost owls or death owls. What is phenomenal about barn owls is that they can locate their prey in complete darkness using only their hearing. Their facial disk collects sound and funnels it toward their ears, which are unevenly set on each side of their heads. These anatomical traits allow the barn owl to move its head and hone in on a sound. He can judge how far away a target is, how deep it is in the snow or grass, and he can adjust for the prey’s movement – all using only sound. As you may have guessed, barn owls rarely return to their nests in the hollows of trees without a meal. Another interesting fact about this particular type of owl is that it hisses rather than hoots. The hiss is uniquely eerie.
Barn Owl first came to me in a trance vision when I went to talk to my fetch or fylgja. Because I thought that I had already found my fylgia (Coyote, wrong!), Barn Owl was quite unexpected and I almost ignored him when I saw him. However, I could not shake the feeling in the vision that we had business so I stopped what I was doing with Coyote to ponder the mysteries of Barn Owl. It was not until a later trance journey that Barn Owl confirmed himself as my fylgia. Barn Owl is generally knowledgeable and experienced, with many insights to help me navigate the unique Norse otherworld landscapes.
For information about the behavior of Barn Owls, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_Owl.