Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Strix varia

About This Animal

SIZE: Wingspan up to 42”

RANGE: All of eastern United States from Florida to southern Canada, through western Canada and the NW United States

HABITAT: Dense hardwood and coniferous forest, wooded swamps

DIET: Small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates such as crawfish and insects.

ON EXHIBIT: Makes appearances in Extraordinary Experience Bird Programs in River Journey

The Barred Owl is a medium sized owl with a round head and black eyes.  It is named after the barring on their breast.   They do not have tufts on their head like their larger cousin the Great Horned Owl.  These owls are heard as much as they are seen with their familiar “who-cooks-for-you” call made by both the males and females during breeding season. Their nest is made in a tree cavity or occasionally in an abandoned hawk nest where they lay two eggs that hatch after 28- 33 days.

Like all owls they are built for silent flight to aid in their nocturnal hunting, frayed edges on the trailing edge of the flight feathers muffle the sound of their wings.  Their hearing is very sensitive with an ear opening on each side of head behind the eye.  These ear holes are offset, meaning one side is higher the other so it can pinpoint sound more accurately.