Barred Owl

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Strix varia

DIETMammals, specifically rodents, make up the largest portion of a typical barred owl diet

RANGEThroughout eastern United States and up into Canada

HABITATForests with mature trees and dense cover near water.

Barred Owl

Physical Description

A barred owl is the second largest owl in Pennsylvania. It is easily recognized by its stocky body, large dark brown eyes, and the puffy round head with no ear tufts. The horizontal bars on the throat and upper breast, and the vertical streaks on the belly give this owl its name.


Predators

Foxes, bobcats, coyotes, bears, and occasionally snakes and other birds of prey.


Lifespan

In the wild, owls live on average around 5-10 years. Under human care they can live up to 30 years.


Reproduction

Owls are usually solitary outside of breeding season. Male owls may bring offerings of food, dropping the item near the female, who is usually much larger, to catch her interest. If prey is scarce, only two or three eggs may be laid; if food is easily available, then six or more eggs may be laid. Chicks generally hatch two days apart, with the oldest chicks getting the most food. Young owl chicks are cared for by their mother for about three months.


Fun Facts

  • Young Barred Owls can climb trees by grasping the bark with their bill and talons, flapping their wings, and walking their way up the trunk.
  • Barred owls are one of the most vocal owl species.

Conservation Messaging

Most of the Bird of Prey here at the zoo are all rehabilitated birds who have sustained different injuries deeming them unreleasable. These birds fall victim to debris found on the side of the road. If it’s an apple core, banana peel, or some discarded trash it will attract their prey items which will then attract the bird of prey. Birds of prey have tunnel vision when hunting and will often not see a car coming. One simple way we can help is to dispose of all your trash properly, even natural items like apple cores and banana peels.

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