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Biology

The Owls

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 The Barred Owl's range is expanding west, now all the way to the north-west coast of North America. Here you will find photos, recordings and a brief field notes section to help identify and enjoy this beautiful owl. A more in depth write up and range map can be found on it's natural history page (the Biology link above).

RECORDINGS
Click on the owl thumbnail to bring up each of the recordings.

Sound File
176K
North Coast Redwoods in
California
April 2000

Sound File
196K
North Coast Redwoods in
California
April 2000

Sound File
121K
North Coast Redwoods in
California
April 2000

This is the territorial call (male).
 Both the male and female owl give this call although the female's voice is a higher pitch (see next call).
Male and female territorial calls. This set begins with the lower pitch male call and then is joined by the higher pitched female's call. This set is both a male and female calling. The beginning of the set is dominated by a female's territorial challenge call.

PHOTO GALLERY
Click on the thumbnail to bring up each of the Owl photos.

 

Barred Owl Photo

122K

Barred Owl Photo

41K

Barred Owl Photo

78K

North Coast Redwoods
in California
April 2000

NorthCoast Redwoods
in California
April 2000
North Coast Redwoods
in California
April 2000

 

Barred Owl Photo

61K

Barred Owl Photo

66K

Barred Owl Photo

82K
North Coast Redwoods
in California
April 2000
North Coast Redwoods
in California
April 2000
North Coast Redwoods
in California
April 2000

FIELD NOTES

Barred Owl - Strix varia

 The Barred Owl is similar in appearance only to the Spotted Owl and is unlikely to be confused with any other owl. There are some distinct differences that make these two owls distinguishable though. The most visual distinction is that the Barred Owl has brown vertical streaks on its underside where the Spotted Owl has short brown horizontal bars (and spots on it's crown). The Barred Owl also has a distinctive sharp break between its vertical chest and flank streaks and lateral throat barring.  It is also a lighter brown color overall and slightly larger (if they happen to be sitting next to each other this is quite noticeable!). Both owls do have bold calls in the forests but they are different. The primary territorial location or advertisement call for the Barred Owl is often described as "Who cooks for you; Who cooks for you all?" or "You cook today; I cook tomorrow" (most noticeable  is tone and pattern since the two owls have many variations). The eyes of both (Spotted and Barred) owls are dark brown to black, the bills are horn to yellowish in color and they lack ear tufts. The sexes are alike in appearance although males and females can be distinguished by call. The length of the Barred Owl is 21 " (slightly shorter in length than a Red-tailed Hawk).

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