Reno, Nevada | Reno (South), NV | Sparks, NV

Carmel Ruiz-Hilton

We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.

Reno, Nevada

Moana Nursery,
1100 West Moana Lane
Reno, NV 89509

Phone: (775) 825-0600
Fax: (775) 825-9359
Email: Send Message

Store Hours:
Mon - Sat: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Additional Website:
Visit our other website

Store Managers: Evan Pearson, Devon Johnson ; Bird Experts: Carmel Ruiz-Hilton, Lisa Braginton, Jon Bruyn

Reno (South), Nevada

Moana Nursery,
11301 South Virginia Street
Reno (South), NV 89511

Phone: (775) 853-1319
Fax: (775) 853-0467
Email: Send Message

Store Hours:
Mon - Sat: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Additional Website:
Visit our other website

Visit Store Managers: Michael Roth, Kelly Miler plus Bird Experts: Carmel Ruiz-Hilton, Steve Packer

Sparks, Nevada

Moana Nursery,
7655 Pyramid Highway
Sparks, NV 89436

Phone: (775) 425-4300
Fax: (775) 425-4340
Email: Send Message

Store Hours:
Mon - Sat: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Additional Website:
Visit our other website

Visit Store Manager: Brad Hunter; Bird Experts: Carmel Ruiz-Hilton & Michelle Gilmore

Map This Location
We can show you how to turn your yard into a birdfeeding habitat that brings song, color and life to your home.
High Desert Bird of the Month
Barn Owl



BOM:  Barn Owl

Scientific name:  Tyto alba 


How to identify:  These medium-sized owls have long, rounded wings and short tails, which combine with a buoyant, loping flight to give them a distinctive flight style. The legs are long and the head is smoothly rounded, without ear tufts.  Barn Owls are pale overall with dark eyes. They have a mix of buff and gray on the head, back, and upperwings, and are white on the face, body, and underwings. When seen at night they can appear all white.


Habitat:  Barn Owls require large areas of open land over which to hunt. This can either be marsh, grasslands, or mixed agricultural fields. For nesting and roosting, they prefer quiet cavities, either in trees or man-made structures such as barns or silos.


Where to find one:  Barn Owls nest and roost in cavities, abandoned barns and other buildings, and dense trees. At night, Barn Owls hunt by flying low, back and forth over open habitats, searching for small rodents primarily by sound.


How to attract one to your yard:  Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. 

Interesting fact:  Barn Owls swallow their prey whole-skin, bones, and all. About twice a day, they cough up pellets instead of passing all that material through their digestive tracts. The pellets make a great record of what the owls have eaten, and scientists study them to learn more about the owls and the ecosystems they live in.


Barn Owl Myths and Folklore


Some call it "ghost bird." Others have named it "demon bird." In fact, colloquial names abound for the widespread Barn Owl.  Found on every continent except Antarctica, and with about 30 subspecies filling its range, the majestic Barn Owl has not always been looked upon favorably.


Despite their bad reputation in folklore, Barn Owls do a lot of good. Many farmers forge beneficial relationships with Barn Owls, as a single owl family can consume approximately 3,000 rodents a year. The majority of their diet is gophers, and they also eat mice, voles, moles, and rats. In exchange for a nest box, they will keep fields clear of rodents, reduce crop damage and loss, and eliminate the need to put out rodenticide. Seeing a Barn Owl is simply a good sign that the ecosystem is healthy and resilient. So remember, Barn Owls are only a scary bird if you're a mouse! 

For more information on Barn Owls, visit one of the three Moana Nursery store locations:  1100 W. Moana Ln. & 11301 S. Virginia St., Reno and 7644 Pyramid Hwy., Sparks. 


Carmel Ruiz-Hilton is Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops at Moana Nursery in Reno/Sparks


Go to the WBU site for more Bird of the Month newsletters & articles. 

 "How Cool Is That" Chatter

Finding Feathers
Have you found a feather or two around your yard lately? Many birds are finishing molting this month. Evidence of this can be seen in their wings. Look for a short or missing feather on each wing while birds soar overhead.
Presto Chango
American Goldfinches are molting into a dull, nondescript color, even changing the color of the beak and legs from orange to black.
Hungry Hummingbirds 
Keep that hummingbird feeder out. Feeders can help fuel migrants moving through. And, it won't keep them from leaving. Hummingbirds innately know when to head to warmer climates.


Fun Facts About Owls

The adaptive Great Horned Owl can be found virtually anywhere in North America. Its habitat ranges from forest, field, tundra and desert and includes highly developed suburban areas as well.

The feathers of all owls are especially soft and muffle wind noise. Many owls also have special comb-like fringes on the leading edge of their wings to help channel air over the wing, thereby reducing noise. These adaptations for silent flight allow the owl to make a soundless approach towards its prey.
Many owls can turn their head around over 270 degrees, allowing them to look almost directly behind themselves. This adaptation has developed to compensate for the fact that their eyes are fixed into a boney socket in the skull and are virtually unable to move.

Owl's eyes are unique among birds as they are located on the front of the head, instead of on the side. This not only gives them a very human appearance but also enables them to match our level of depth perception that is created by the overlapping vision from each eye.

Owls can fly and hunt during the daytime as well as at night. However most of them are best adapted for nocturnal hunting. 

Most owls rely as much or more on their hearing as they do their sight to locate, track and capture prey.

The ears of most owls are located asymmetrically on their head, with the right ear being higher than the left ear. Each ear hears the same sound with a slight difference, thus creating a form of audible "depth perception" which can be used to track the location and movements of their prey. 
After digesting their most recent meal, owls will form a pellet of the undigested remains of their prey and regurgitate it. Made up primarily of fur, feathers and bones, it is egested approximately 13-16 hours after eating.
The oldest known Barred Owl lived to 18 years and 3 months.