Thursday, April 14, 2011

Birding in Tennessee: Barred Owl

Do owls only come out at night? Can an owl capture fish right out of the lake?

Well, the Barred Owl does come out during a dark or cloudy day to hunt for mice, birds and other prey. They can sometimes be seen perching high up in the foilage and watching for any opportunity to hunt. These owls have been observed snatching fish from a lake!

Some Tennesseans call this species a 'hoot owl' and are heard making their loud "who-cooks-for-you who-cooks-for-you" sound that can be heard naytime of the day or night. During mating the Barred Owl makes a "hoo-hoo hoo-WAHHHH"and can range from short yelps to barks to a wild squall that sounds like a monkey.

listen to several barred owl calls on this OWL PAGE under 'calls'

The large round head, brown eyes and horizontial bars on the chest of the Barred Owl are it's defining features. Usually about 20" tall with 50" wing span it lives for about 10 years in the wild (20 years in captivity) wth their only natural enemy being the Great Horned Owl.

Barred Owls mate for life and maintain a small terrioty throughout their lives. They care for their young much longer than most other owls (4 months). When the young leave the nest at 4 months, they are not able to fly but use their beaks and talons to move along onto branches. These owls are called 'branchers'.

from UpNorthSuncatchers - - - - - - from EverythingOldisNewAgain

I saw a Barred owl on a windy night when I turned on our outdoor lights to see if it was raining. The small owl had perched on a very tiny branch only 3 feet from my office window. I was so excited that I grabbed my camera but not fast enough to catch him before he moved on.

This is the first article in a new series for Edge of the Wildwood . . . BIRDING! We examine many wonderful species of birds found in Tennessee. I hope you'll come back often and follow the BIRDING series.

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