Return of Bird of the Week: Barred Owl


Maybe WC should call this a Bard Owl: it was photographed on the grounds of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival in Boise, yesterday.

Barred Owl, Boise, Idaho

Barred Owl, Boise, Idaho

Bad puns aside, this species is rare in southeastern Idaho. And controversial. Range expansion into the Pacific Northwest has brought the Barred Owl into contact with the closely related cousin, the Spotted Owl. The more aggressive Barred Owl has been known to displace and even hybridize with the Spotted Owl, a further threat to that already endangered species.

Barred Owl, Boise, Idaho

Barred Owl, Boise, Idaho

This is North America’s third largest owl by size, smaller than the Great Grey Owl and Great-horned Owl. It’s a generalist predator, using a wide variety of habitats and a wide variety of prey. While Birds of North America and other references say it “Generally avoids areas near human habitation,” in WC’s experience it’s pretty tolerant of human activity. Three of WC’s sets of photographs of the species were in noisy, near-urban areas. One was less than a quarter mile from SeaTac International Airport, in Seattle.

For more bird photos, visit Frozen Feather Images.

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One thought on “Return of Bird of the Week: Barred Owl

  1. Last month, one roosted all day in a Sweet Gum tree next to a main road through Oregon State University. It didn’t return, but it probably didn’t go far; I’ve seen these birds in the edge of town.

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