Critter Corner - Barred
DID YOU KNOW:
The rich baritone hooting you may hear in the woods that sounds
like 'who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all' is the barred
owl. They get their name from the dark barred pattern on
owls are well-adapted for hunting small mammals. Their sharp
talons and beak are perfect for grabbing, killing and tearing
the meat Mice, squirrels, rabbits and opossums are
favorite foods, but they also eat birds, frogs, lizards, snakes
and even fish. They seek prey from a perch or while flying
low through the forest They are most active at
night, but will also hunt early in the morning and at dusk.
The male hunts for food and brings it to the nest when the
female is with the young.
The adult pair choose a large hollow in a tree to make their
nest. Sometimes they may even use an old abandoned hawk or
squirrel nest. The pair call to each other often when
preparing to raise their family. The female lays two to
four eggs that hatch in about 30 days. The babies look
like big puffballs while they are covered with down. The
feathers soon begin to grow in, and they are able to fly in
about six weeks.
Barred owls can be found from the East Coast to the
Mountains, from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Woodlands that
are near rivers and other wetlands are prime barred owl habitat.
Locally you can hear or see barred owls where the Missouri and
the Blue Rivers run through wooded areas.
Barred owls are more than 20 inches tall, so adults are not
preyed upon by many others. Sharp talons, flight and a
sharp beak are all excellent for defense. However, the
babies can be food for other birds of prey. Mom always
stays close by until her babies can fly.
Excellent eyesight and hearing give owls a great advantage
when they hunt for food.
And they fly silently. The leading edge of the primary
feathers on the wings extend out like eyelashes. These
delicately feathered edges slice through the air without
creating sound, allowing the owl to sneak up on its prey.
Lakeside Nature Center's
To learn more about
(Photo credits: Portrait of
barred owl, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Barred
Owl, Missouri Department of Conservation; Barred owl in Pine
Tree, South Florida Water Management Department)