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Barred Owl

Typical Barred Owl habitat consists of forests with some mature trees near open country. Their historic range covered the eastern half of North America, but recently the owl’s range is expanding into western North America, they are now breeding in parts of the pacific northwest.

We see them every year on Vancouver Island. Though this owl is basically a nocturnal bird, it is a very opportunistic hunter and will hunt even before dark. They tend to feed mainly on small mammals such as field mice, shrews, and deer mice. It also eats small squirrels, bats, moles, rabbits, and mink. They often sit 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 will also eat fish, frogs, snakes, lizards, and crayfish. In fact, it is said that the pinkish tinge to its belly is due to the amount of crayfish that it eats.

Barred owl, Vancouver Island, BC
Barred owl, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

When you hear the barred owl cry at night in the dark swampy terrain that they like, it can be an awe-inspiring experience. The barred owl has a large repertoire of squawks and screams, and can even produce a barking sound. Small wonder that they are known far and wide as the crazy owl.

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