About The Barred Owl

A large bird which inhabits the woods, the Barn Owl measures in at 43-50 cm (17-20 in) with a wingspan of 99-110 cm (39-43 in) and with a weight of 470-1050 grams. The Barred Owl has a large round head but has no ear tufts. It is brownish-gray at the back and whitish at the bottom with some white streaks.

While most other owls have yellow eyes, the Barred Owl has brown eyes. It has a small sharp dull yellow beak. In fact, its beak is so small it is almost covered by its facial feathers. The Barred Owl has a long tail.

There is not much difference between the male and female Barred Owl. Much like other birds, the female is larger than the male, though. The immature Barred Owl looks like the adult.

The Barred Owl Nesting Preferences

Barred Owls nest in cavities. They normally build their nests in deciduous trees but they also make use of existing hawk or crow nests. They also use nest boxes.

Building a Birdhouse For The Barred Owl

When building a birdhouse for the Barred Owl, you can place it on a high tree. It is a good idea to ensure that one side at the bottom opens to make for easy cleaning. Suggested dimensions are: 25h x 14-1/4w x 19d.

The Barred Owl Mating Habits

Barred Owls start courting around February but do not mate till March. The mating season lasts until August. During courtship, the male and female Barn Owl chase each other, all the while hooting. Mutual preening and courtship feeding also occurs.

The Barred Owl Feeding Preferences

Though the Barred Owl is basically a nocturnal bird, it is a very opportunistic hunter and will hunt even before dark. The Barred Owl feeds mainly on small mammals such as field mice, shrews, and deer mice. It also eats small squirrels, baby rabbits, bats, moles, possums, minks, and weasels. The Barred Owl often sits on a tree branch or any other perch waiting for prey and then swoops down quickly to grab its food.
Aside from small mammals, the Barred Owl likes to eat fish, turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards, crayfish, and some insects. In fact, it is said that the pinkish tinge in its belly is due to the amount of crayfish that it eats. Barred Owls are also attracted by light because of the amount of insects that gather around it.

Interesting Barred Owl Facts

  • The reason behind the name Barred Owl is the bars of brown and white across the bird’s chest.
  • The Barred Owl’s hoot sounds like “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all.”
  • This species is much like the Spotted Owl except for its bars (Spotted Owls have SPOTS).
  • The Barred Owl goes by different names. Other names used for this bird are: Northern Barred Owl, Swamp Owl, Striped Owl, Hoot Owl, Eight hooter, Round-headed Owl, Le Chat-huant du Nord (French for The Hooting Cat of the North), Wood Owl, and Rain Owl.
  • Barred Owls eat their prey whole. That is why they regurgitate balls of feather and bones after a meal.