Tyto alba, the Indian Barn Owl is a pale nocturnal bird which lives and hunts near human settlements. It is a lonely bird, and usually lives in holes in trees. It is farsighted, and cannot see something which is very near. Its heart shaped face gives it the ability to hear the smallest sounds clearly, so that it can hunt in total darkness with only the help of its hearing. It makes eerie sounds like shrieks, hisses and snores.
The Barn Owl is a friend of the farmer and the gardener, because it eats astonishing quantities of rodents. A baby own can eat 5 mice at one go, and an adult can eat 10 rats in one night!The threat to the owl comes from humans, some of whom think that it brings bad luck. The owl can become sick by eating a poisoned rat, or by pesticides.
Since it is a non migratory bird, the owl can act as an early warning system for toxic contamination in the environment.
For more information, see http://www.auroville.org/ .