IMPORTANCE OF HABITAT
The comedian Harry Hill once did a routine about how the Tawny Owl is a bird of the woodland and the Barn Owl a bird of the barn and that the two should never invade the other’s territory. He was remarkably near the mark, as habitat is a vital first consideration in owl ID. Barn Owls do like to nest in barns (as well as hollow trees), with open country their favoured hunting habitat. Tawny Owls are almost invariably found in or very close to woodland. Long-eared Owls are also woodland birds, but will hunt rough grassland near their woodland roosting and breeding habitat. Short-eared Owls are largely birds of open country, shunning any woods except very young plantations. An eared owl seen hunting in open country at early dusk or even in the day is more likely to be a Short-eared than a Long-eared. Little Owls like a variety of farmland and parkland type of habitat. One other thing to consider is that our most numerous owl, the Tawny, does not occur on the island of Ireland.
Barn Owls are birds of open country, hunting for small mammals in grass