The Barred owl: "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?"

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Barred owl in dreamscape

Text and photo by Frank Kleyn

Over the years, Richmond Beach neighbors on our street have been hearing the calls of barred owls in the evening and early morning hours. On a late August morning at about 7am, this barred owl looked down at us from a big leaf maple tree in our backyard.

The morning light through the leaves is diffused because the photo was taken through a window screen, giving the owl's leafy perch a dreamy appearance.

Largely found in the eastern and northern North America, the barred owl is a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest. They compete for territory and occasionally even mate with our native spotted owls.

Barred owls weigh 1.6 lbs and stand 20 inches tall with a 48 inch wingspan. Their call is described as "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" You can listen to their calls here.

Making their homes in mature woodland forest, the barred owl prefers to eat small mammals, but on occasion will eat birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

We're happy to know that our neighborhood barred owls are keeping the surrounding forest's rat population in check. Keep your ears and eyes open and you might be fortunate enough to hear or view one of these beautiful and elusive creatures in your neighborhood.


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