This particular post is long overdue. Barred Owls are a frequent subject of mine, and definitely one of my favourite birds in the forest. There’s something about those big brown eyes that’s both wise and utterly adorable.
Just a few short years ago, it seemed like finding an owl was an impossible task, and I had pretty much accepted that it wasn’t going to happen. But over time, as I got to know the local wildlife habits a little better, more and more owls started popping up for me, and they are probably my most photographed bird.
Latin Name: Strix varia
Size: 43-50 cm, with a wingspan of 99-110 cm
Lifespan: 8 – 10 years in the wild (but up to 20 in captivity)
Finding Barred Owls
Barred owls range from the Eastern coast of Canada and the US, across the middle of Canada, and into the West Coast. They even appear as far north as the edge of British Columbia.
I have personally seen Barred Owls in both deciduous and coniferous areas, with the latter being the preferred habitat. Further north they can be found in more mature coniferous areas.
The spread of this owl into the west has become a problem for the local Spotted Owls, whose numbers have dwindled significantly.
When it comes to food, barred owls are not picky eaters. They have been observed eating a variety of small prey such as mice, rats, bats, squirrels, shrews, voles, chipmunks, opossums, and rabbits, as well as some species of small birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates.
Protecting Barred Owls
These owls are listed are not considered threatened, but are still important to protect and study as their species’ health can indicate what’s going on in mature forest areas.
Like many other species, deforestation poses a significant threat to them. Another threat is human pest management. In an attempt to manage rodent populations, people often leave out poison, which once consumed by rodents, can then be consumed by owls.
As with all owls, please give them space if you see them in the wild, and never disclose the location of nests.
Barred Owl Baby Watch 2022
Curious about the nesting, feeding, and family habits of barred owls? Check out my post regarding my “Incredibles” owl family!