<< Previous Next >>

Barred Owl

Barred Owl
Photo Information
Copyright: Greg Hume (greghume) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 212 W: 72 N: 575] (2160)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-06-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel XSi, Canon 70-200 F4 L USM IS
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-07-13 18:18
Viewed: 4176
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Barred Owl - Strix varia

The first description of a Barred Owl was published in 1799 by amateur naturalist Benjamin Smith Barton. In Latin, "varia" is a form of the word "varius", meaning diverse. It has also been known as Northern Barred Owl, Swamp Owl, Striped Owl, Hoot Owl, Eight hooter, Round-headed Owl, Le Chat-huant du Nord (French for "The Hooting Cat of the North"), Wood Owl, and Rain Owl. It is also mistakenly known as a Bard Owl.

Description: The Barred Owl is a medium-sized gray-brown Owl streaked with white horizontal barring on the chest and vertical barring on the belly. They are round-headed with a whitish/brown facial disk with dark brown trim. The eyes are brown, and the beak is yellow and almost covered by feathers. They have a long tail. There is no difference in plumage between males and the larger females.

Size: Length 40-63 cm (16-25 inches) Wingspan 96-125 cm (38-50 inches)
Weight: 500-1050 grams (17.5-37 oz) (average male 617g, average female 779g)

Habits: A nocturnal bird. Hides in dense foliage during the day, usually high up. May also roost on a branch close to a broad tree-trunk, or in a natural tree hole. May be very aggressive when defending a nest.

Hunting & Food: A very opportunistic hunter, a Barred Owl can sometimes be seen hunting before dark. This typically occurs during the nesting season or on dark and cloudy days. A Barred Owl will use a perch, from where it dives upon its prey - meadow voles are its main prey, followed by shrews and deer mice. Other mammals include rats, squirrels, young rabbits, bats, moles, opossums, mink, and weasels. Birds are taken occasionally, including woodpeckers, grouse, quail, jays, blackbirds, and pigeons. They also eat small fish, turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards, crayfish, scorpions, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers. Birds are taken as they settle into nocturnal roosts, because they cannot catch birds on the wing. They will also swoop down to the water's edge to catch frogs, other amphibians, and occasionally fish. Barred Owls are attracted to campfires and lights where they forage for large insects. Prey is usually devoured on the spot. Larger prey is carried to a feeding perch and torn apart before eating.

Breeding: Breeding habitat is dense woods across Canada, the eastern United States and south to Central America; in recent years it has spread to the western United States. Recent studies show suburban neighborhoods can be ideal habitat for barred owls. Using transmitters, scientists found that populations increased faster in the suburban settings than in old growth forest. The main danger to owls in suburban settings is from cars. The increased offspring offset the death rate due to impacts from cars and disease. Barred Owls call year-round but courtship activities begin in February with breeding occurring between March and August. Males hoot and females give contact calls. As the nesting season approaches, males chase after females giving a variety of hooting and screeching calls. Males display by swaying back and forth, and raising their wings, while sidling along a branch. Courtship feeding and mutual preening also occur. Barred Owls nest in cavities and will also use abandoned Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Squirrel, or Crow nests. Eggs number 2-4 and are white, and almost perfectly round, with a slightly rough texture. They are likely laid every 2 to 3 days and incubation begins with the first egg laid. Incubation period is 28-33 days. The Male brings food to the female while she is on the nest. The Barred Owl is single-brooded but has a long breeding season, which allows for laying of replacement clutches if the first clutch or brood is lost. When the young leave the nest, at about 4 weeks, they are not able to fly, but crawl out of the nest using their beak and talons to sit on branches. These Owls are called branchers. They fledge at 35 to 40 days. Once they lose their down, there is no difference between adult and juvenile plumage.
Parents care for the young for at least 4 months, much longer than most other Owls. Young tend to disperse very short distances, usually less than 10 kilometres (6 miles), before settling. Pairs mate for life and territories and nest sites are maintained for many years.

This individual has a damaged wing and is cared for by Raptor, Inc.

Source: The Owl Pages

thor68, CeltickRanger, ubc64 has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Hi Greg,

Fantastic capture of this beautiful owl.
Nice sharpness and details.
Interesting notes. Well done. TFS.


helllo Greg

WOW ! an great portrait photo of the Barred Owl,
with fine POV, fine focus great sharpness
and details even of its dark eyes, WOW !,
and what a wonderful eye-contact, TFS


Hello sir
I am Nihal
You shot this photo perfectly and beautifully.
Thanks for sharing.
Regards Nihal

  • Great 
  • ubc64 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 76 W: 21 N: 208] (789)
  • [2009-08-15 21:13]

Hi Greg,

Great posting! The colouring and details of that owl are superb! It looks like it just stuck its head out for you to capture its portrait. I don't have a single photo of an owl in my collection. I thought that I might be able to get one when I went to Vancouver last week. But, alas, when I went to the location where there had been one recently, it was not to be found. Something for the future. Very comprehensive notes! I must go to your link. Apparently, according to my iBird Explorer Pro application, owls usually have yellow eyes, not brown, like the Barred Owl. That same iPod/iPhone reference also notes that some Barred Owls have pink belly feathers, perhaps from a diet that is rich in crayfish -- probably, not too many pink-bellied Barred Owls in Ohio or Alberta (where I live), unless they hang around fish markets. :) TFS.


Calibration Check