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