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Young Barred Owl - Cathy Hoover.jpg
Dwight Alton.jpg
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Barred Owl

Also known as a swamp owl, wood owl, laughing owl, black eye owl, rain owl, and striped owl.







Species:S. varia



Body length:  16-25 in.

Weight:  1.5-2 lbs

Wingspan:  38-50 in.

The Barred Owl is a medium sized gray-brown with whitish brown facial disk and very dark brown eyes.




They live in deep wet forests, wooded swamps, and other woods by waterways.  Widespread in North America in the southwest.



Hunting Style

The barred owl hunts by waiting on a high perch at night, or flying through the woods and swooping down on prey. A barred owl can sometimes be seen hunting before dark. This typically occurs during the nesting season or on dark and cloudy days. Of the North American owls, the pygmy, hawk, snowy and burrowing owls are more likely to be active during the day. Daytime activity is often most prevalent when barred owls are raising chicks. However, this species still generally hunts near dawn or dusk. Wikipedia.

They will take a variety of food such as voles, mice, rats, squirrels, small rabbit, bats, moles, birds, small fish, frogs, turtles, large insects, mink, crayfish, etc...




Barred Owls will enst in tree cavites and abandoned Red-Shouldered Hawk nests, Coopers Hawk nests, squirrel and crow nests.  It is a permanent resident, but may wander after the nesting season. If a nest site has proved suitable in the past they will often reuse it as the birds are non-migratory. In the United States, eggs are laid from early-January in southern Florida to mid-April in northern Maine, and consist of 2 to 4 eggs per clutch. Eggs are brooded by the female with hatching taking place approximately 4 weeks later. Young owls fledge four to five weeks after hatching.  The juveniles will spend up to 4 months with their parents, quite a bit longer then other owls. These owls have few predators, but young, unwary owls may be taken by cats. The most significant predator of barred owls is the great horned owl. The barred owl has been known to live up to 10 years in the wild and 23 years in captivity.



Fun Facts

Barred Owls are also known for the wide range of sounds they make. Many people have been frightened by noises they heard, not knowing it was only an owl. The most common noise is the mating call. The male calls out and the female responds. Barred Owls make many other noises including various hoots, whines, and squeals. They can sound like barking dogs or whooping monkeys. They also make sounds like humans, including a scream like someone in great pain and one that sounds like laughter.

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