Barred Owls

Barred owls, like all owls, exercise a mysterious hold on our psyches. Birders and non-birders alike are drawn to their expressive faces and large liquid eyes.

February 5, 2019 | | Notes from the Wild

“Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” These phrases attempt to describe the call of a barred owl. It takes a large imaginative leap, though, to hear these words in a barred owl vocalization. Nevertheless, they do provide a useful mnemonic for birders.

Barred owl. Photo by David Williams.

Barred owl. Photo by David Williams.

The actual barred owl call is easy to imitate. And even clumsy renditions will often prompt a real owl to respond. I’ve had success calling barred owls on camping trips to Algonquin Park. There is a kind of elemental magic to this experience. A crackling campfire, loon laughter, the “jug-o-rum” of bullfrogs and the sonorous call of a barred owl echoing through the pine-clad woods.

Barred owls seem to be appearing more often in southern Ontario in recent years. A forest owl, they may be responding to the maturation of our second-growth woodlands.

Barred owl with a ruffed grouse (just barely visible). Photo by Don Scallen.

Barred owl with a ruffed grouse (just barely visible). Photo by Don Scallen.

Like their slightly bigger cousins, the great-horned owls, barred owls have diverse appetites. A barred owl nest box in Indiana has been monitored by video cameras inside and out over the last few years. The owlets in the box have been fed an array of tasty offerings including snakes, frogs, fish, squirrels, mice and songbirds. (see the link below on this page)

Barred owls, like all owls, exercise a mysterious hold on our psyches. Birders and non-birders alike are drawn to their expressive faces and large liquid eyes. They are ambassadors for the natural world, embodying the beauty and wonder of wildness.

Barred owl. Photo by Gary Hall.

Barred owl. Photo by Gary Hall.

Last year, while hiking along an Escarpment stream, I was delighted to find a barred owl roosting on a hemlock branch overhanging the water. It didn’t flinch as I sat down nearby, and for a while we passed time together. Then I quietly slipped away, my spirits buoyed, my sense of awe stoked.

Barred Owl Videos

Wonderful barred owl videos can be found at this site:
http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/43/Barred_Owls/

Especially good is this video:
July 20, 2018
2018 WBU Barred Owl Cam Season Highlights

About the Author More by Don Scallen

Don Scallen enjoys sharing his love of nature through his writing and presentations. Check out his blog "Notes from the Wild".

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