GIBSON CO., Ind. (WEHT) — Eyewitness News goes hunting for a rare find in Gibson County. Our guide for this adventure is Mike Wathen, a Southern Indiana Wildlife expert. He takes us out on his four wheeler to a remote bridge.
Wathen tells us about 3 months ago, he first noticed a family of barn owls while he was trapping beavers. He says he didn’t see them, but rather, heard them, hissing at him.
Wathen takes us underneath the bridge. It’s a dark cramped space. But there they are. Most of us would have never noticed this family of barn owls tucked up under the rafters.
Wathen says, “The fact that they’re nesting where they are tells me quite a bit of how desperate they are for a spot to locate a nest.”
A mama and daddy barn owl peer over each other. Wathen says six babies, or owlets, are here too. Though we can’t see all of them tonight, he says he’s seen them on his trail camera set up a few weeks ago.
“They glide about 2 and a half to three feet off the ground. And their efficiency rate is unbelievable. They don’t miss on those mice.”
Last night in a 3 and half hour window they brought in 41 mice.
Tonight the owls were not very active. Maybe because they’re not very warm and welcoming.
“They can be very competitive and aggressive,” Wathen says. “Keep an eye on them when they start hissing at you — that’s time to take warning.”
In fact, they’re not even nice to each other.
“Originally they were 10. A couple of the larger ones had some of the smaller ones for snacks.”
Wathen says they won’t be here long. The owlets are about ready to fly the nest and go out on their own.
“You don’t see a lot of them anymore. There was a time that you did. These guy right here are cooler than heck.”
Below you can watch videos of wildlife Wathen has shared with Eyewitness News.