Barred Owl Habits

The Barred Owl is the most likely owl to be seen during daylight. While mostly nocturnal, it often hunts during cloudy days and can be seen at dawn and dusk.

It's call sounds like "who cooks for you, who cooks for you."

barred owl

One of the things that struck me when seeing this bird was its size and how it was so quite as it flew away. You just never hear any flapping of the wings.

Early Spring


These birds of prey are large in size. The length of the bird is about 18 inches to 2 feet with females a little larger than males.

The Barred Owl is named for the feather patterns, which are barred with the alternating colors of white and brown, located on its head, chest and back.

The belly is streaked lengthwise with white and brown feathers. The eyes are large and dark brown. The bill is yellow, the face of a Barred Owl has a pale gray disc around each of the eyes.

These discs are outlined with a dark brown line. Just behind the facial disc, the white and brown barred pattern begins and continues down the bird's back.

Feeding Habits

Feeding primarily on voles, mice and shrews. Other animals consumed include: squirrels rabbits, bats, snakes and even going into water for crayfish and frogs.

Swallowing it's food whole the acids in the bird digest the soft parts of the food and pellets are regurgitated and dropped to the ground.

These pellets are a clue to where they may be nesting as they're often dropped at the base of the nesting tree.

Mating Habits

Courtship can begin as early as December with the males and females calling back and forth.

The courtship behavior includes bowing to each other and wing flapping. Preening each other also occurs.

During the winter these birds are solitary but will reunite with previous mates in late winter.

Mating and nesting primarily begins in March and goes into August. Barred Owls are monogamus with pair bonds lasting as long as both live.

Nesting Habits

An easy bird to study during nesting as they often reuse the same nest from season to season. Nest can be an old hawk, squirrel, or crow nest.

Prefers to nest in tree cavities but will make use of man-made bird houses.

The female will lay up to 5 white eggs but usually lays 2 - 3. While both male and female will sit on the eggs, females are the primary incubators.

Incubation is about 28-33 days and the young will move out of the nest in about 30 days but not fly for another 10 - 12 days.

The young will continue to stay with the adults for as long as 4 - 6 months after fledging.

Same Owl, Located in Lawrence, KS at Praire Nature Park

General Information on the Owl species

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