Though found in geographies around the globe, the Barn Owl in Canada is an endangered species whose unique physical traits and exceptional hunting skills make it an exceptional member of the owl family.
This coloured cupronickel coin has a diameter of 35 millimetres. The reverse image, designed by Canadian artist Trevor Tennant, features a painted barn owl in full flight, viewed from its left side as it flaps its broad white and gold wings, perhaps readying itself to swoop in silence on its unsuspecting prey. The owl’s left profile is rendered to stunning effect, with the side of its distinctive oval face, snubbed beak and small, piercing black eye beautifully portrayed against the sunset. Its long legs and sharp talons are held aloft below its short, square tail feathers. In the background is a wire fenced field of tall grasses flanked, in the far background, by an abandoned barn—one of the barn owl’s preferred nesting spots. The pinkish sky of sunset meets the field on the horizon. The reverse is engraved with the word “CANADA,” the date “2013,” and the face value of “25 CENTS.” The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
- The 12th coin in the Royal Canadian Mint’s renowned Birds of Canada series, this painted coin beautifully portrays the gorgeous colouring and wing detail of the much-beloved American Robin.
- An exceptional addition to any nature-focused or Canadiana collection.
- A beautiful gift for people who love birds, natural imagery, exquisite natural artwork, and Canadian themes.
Item number: 122415
Face Value: 25 cents
Diameter (mm): 35
Artist: Trevor Tennant
Coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint branded maroon clamshell case lined with black flock and protected by a black sleeve.
Finished size: 67 mm x 67 mm
Complete Certificate Text:
The Barn Owl
In Hindu mythology, the goddess Lakshmi flies on the back of a Barn Owl (Tyto alba)—a symbol of wisdom and good fortune. This eye-catching raptor, though resident on every continent except Antarctica, is a relatively rare denizen of the Canadian wilderness.
Among owls, the Barn Owl is singular. Unlike its cousins, it does not hoot; instead, it makes a variety of odd sounds that include screams, screeches, and hisses. It is an adaptable bird that prefers to nest in tree cavities, holes in rock faces, and abandoned buildings but will also nest in attics, silos, and other occupied structures.
The Barn Owl’s appearance is striking. The small, wedge-shaped owl is approximately 30 to 45 centimetres in length, weighing between 200 and 700 grams. Its body is adorned with beautiful golden back, wing, and tail feathers. It has long legs, sharp talons, and a broad wingspan of up to one metre. Its otherworldly white, disc-shaped face is punctuated by two dark forward-looking eyes and a small beak. The Barn Owl does not have ear tufts.
Specialized serrations on its wing feathers allow owls to fly with preternatural silence. This nocturnal carnivore hunts from above, silently swooping down to capture its prey with its talons. Its exceptional low-light vision is ideally suited to its evening and night-time hunting habits, but it is the Barn Owl’s hearing that is truly exceptional, allowing the owl to precisely locate and capture prey in absolute darkness using only its hearing.
This exceptional hearing is aided by particular adaptions, including asymmetrically positioned ears. One ear sits at the height of its forehead and the other at the height of its nose.
The Barn Owl is not a truly migratory bird, although it is considered partially migratory in some geographies. Its habitats of choice include open meadows, grasslands, orchards, farmland and other places where mice, voles, and shrews are abundant. Research has shown that a group of two adults and their young can consume more than 1,000 rodents in a single season.
Found only in British Columbia and at the southernmost tip of Ontario, the Barn Owl is considered endangered in Canada despite its healthy presence in other geographies.