The Barred Owl (Strix varia), is a resident of North American woodlands. It draws attention not only for its distinct appearance, but also for its diverse and sometimes shocking vocalizations. Inhabiting mixed forests and wooded areas, this owl, with its characteristic barred plumage and deep eyes, stands out in the shadows.
Particularly active at night, the Barred Owl's call, often described as "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" resonates through the trees, contributing to a nocturnal symphony of the woods. The name "Barred Owl" finds its origin in the horizontal barring on its feathers, adding to its unique identity.
Renowned for its adaptability, the Barred Owl is a skilled hunter, targeting small mammals, birds, amphibians, and even fish. Its silent flight hunting techniques play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance within its habitat. Beyond their hunting prowess, Barred Owls are notable for a repertoire of calls, ranging from hoots and screeches to various other vocalizations. These calls serve multiple purposes, including territorial communication, locating mates, and asserting their presence in the woodland landscape. We are lucky enough to have one who has territory just to the south of us and enjoy listening to him call and remind others of his territory this time of year. As they perch on tree limbs or gracefully navigate the forest at night their calls punctuate the night air. The variety of calls is simply astounding and if you've heard one of these in the night forest, you may feel like a lot of ghost stories are suddenly explained.