Illustrator Christina Mattison Ebert shares depictions and information on coastal birds
My father, an avid birdwatcher for decades, built an owl nest box for the backyard and promptly placed a telescope in the living room with a clear line of sight to the box. He, like many other humans, is captivated by owls — they are at once adorable and haunting, secretive and conspicuous.
One of the more common owl species you might spot in your own backyard is the barn owl, with its distinctive heart-shaped white face. The barn owl’s face, in fact, catches and focuses sound waves so that this nocturnal creature can detect small animal prey in complete darkness. Adding to its deft hunting capabilities are its soft feathers, which enable silent flight.
FUN FACT: There is a very rare (1 in 100,000) genetic mutation called melanism that results in a barn owl with darkly colored plumage.