An owl big enough to scare humans, violent enough to hurt humans; yes we are talking about the barred owl. These huge owls, although are not the biggest of owls, are fascinating creatures. Mostly found in central and north-western North America, these are one of the most common species of owls.
The barred owl, also known as the Northern Barred Owl, Striped Owl, Swamp Owl, Hoot Owl, Eight Hooter, Round-headed Owl, Rain Owl, and mistakenly called the Bard Owl.
Does your little one know about these owls? Then why waste any time? This article on 11 amazing barred owl facts will cover everything you want to know about these creatures.
11 Interesting & Fun Facts about Barred Owls for Kids
Barred owls have a lot of characteristics that are common with the other owls. However, there are certain things about these huge owls which are distinct from the rest of their cousins. You can spot a barred owl by its streaked chest, round head and big black eyes.
So, without further ado, let us jump into some interesting barred owl facts that will surprise not just kids but also adults.
1. Barred owls have a distinctive call
One of the most amazing characteristics of barred owls is their distinctive call. It can very well scare a person if they are not able to understand what the sound is. Their call sounds like a muffled ‘who cooks for you’, especially in a forest.
Additionally, when they are courting their partners, they often indulge in a duet which to the human ears may sound like a burst of maniacal laughter!
2. They can scare a human being
We have already mentioned that the call of the barred owls is enough to spook out a person. However, it does not just end there.
These birds can be large in size, almost as close as 20 inches tall. There have been instances where unsuspecting people got scared when they spotted the bird sitting in the woods.
3. They will use abandoned nests by other animals
Like most owls, barred owls too, prefer staying in tree hollows. However, what is interesting about them is that they will often use the abandoned nests of other creatures. Whether it is squirrels or Red-tailed hawks, barred owls can make use of anyone’s abandoned house for themselves.
4. They can be very violent
We all know that parents are always protective of their kids. Irrespective of whether it is an animal, bird or aquatic creature, the parents always want to protect their babies. The same goes for the barred owls.
However, barred owls by nature are very violent creatures and they get even worse when they are looking after their babies. They are known to chase away predators aggressively by striking them with their sharp talons.
There is also a famous murder case, where the culprit is suspected to be a barred owl! You better stay away from these creatures if you come across one.
5. They have a lot of patience while hunting
If there is one thing we can learn from animals and birds, which would be their incredible patience while hunting. One mistake and they could go hungry for the day.
When it comes to the barred owls, they too exhibit immense patience, precision and skill while hunting. They wait and sit still, scan and listen till they locate their prey and snatch them up with one swoop!
6. Barred owls often go fishing
While most of the diets of barred owls are small mammals like mice and squirrels, these giant owls often go fishing for a change of taste. They mainly feed on crayfish and crabs.
What is interesting about this fact is that if a barred owl manages to eat enough crayfish, its feathers under the wings can turn pink!
7. Recently, barred owls have started to expand their territory
Usually, barred owls do not move around much. However, in the last century, these owls have started expanding their territory. They have moved to Canada and have managed to reach California.
This movement has proven to be a serious problem for the spotted owls; a smaller cousin of the barred owls. Since the barred owls are larger in size, they force the smaller spotted owls from their territories. They often breed with them.
8. Barred owls mate for life
Like the snowy white owl, barred owls too, mate for life. They also tend to lay two or three eggs each year. After the breeding season, the owls remain solitary until the next year, where they return to find their mate.
If you want to know more about the amazing snowy owls, you can check out our article on them here: 11 Amazing Snowy Owls Facts for Kids
9. The chicks stay in the nest longer than any other owl species
The incubation period for the barred owls is generally anywhere between 28 to 33 days. During this time, the female sits and warms the eggs while the male hunts for food.
Following this, the eggs hatch. What is interesting about the barred owl chicks is that they tend to remain in the nest for a period of six months. This is quite unusual for owls. During this time, the chicks rarely separate from each other and are always seen sitting side by side.
10. They are talented climbers
While they do not go out on their own for a period of 6 months, they venture out for small adventures and flying lessons and come back o the nest.
They happen to be very talented climbers and with the help of strong bills and talons, they clamber their way through the trees.
11. The order of hatching determines the size
An unusual character of the barred owls is that the order of hatching determines the size of the chicks. This means that the first egg to hatch will be the largest chick and then it starts getting progressively smaller.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What do barred owls eat?
Barred owls generally eat smaller mammals like rats and squirrels. But once in a while, they go fishing for crayfish or crabs.
Q. How big are barred owls?
Barred owls can become as big as 20 inches tall, big enough to scare an unsuspecting human.
Q. Where does a barred owl live?
Like most owls, barred owls prefer living in the hollows of trees but they will make use of abandoned nests of squirrels and Red-tailed hawks.
Q. How long do barred owls live?
Barred owls can live for a period of 23 years in captivity. In case they are in wild, they can live up to 33 years.
Q. Do barred owls sleep?
Yes, bird owls sleep during the day and mostly hunt after sundown.
Q. Why do barred owls call at night?
Barred owls, like the other owls, are nocturnal creatures and they hoot after sundown to locate their prey.
Q. Do barred owls eat cats?
Yes, barred owls are large and strong enough to kill a domestic cat.
Q. How far can a barred owl see?
Barred owls are far-sighted and can spot animals like rabbits from a mile away. However, they cannot see anything that is closer to them.
Q. Do barred owls stay in one area?
Usually barred owls move around to find a better habitat. The males cover more territory than the females.
That was it, folk! Hopefully, you enjoyed this article on some amazing facts about the barred owl and your little one learned a thing or two about them. They tend to be extremely violent so make sure you do not approach them. Have a beautiful day!