Deep Dive: Barred Owls

by OBDK on November 12, 2021

Barred Owls stand out because of their unique call, which is a series of hoots that sounds like “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” Listen to it here. Once you do, you’ll never forget it.


These owls are found in the United States and Canada, usually in mature forests that are close to a body of water. They have dark eyes and are brown and white. On their fronts, they are white with brown streaks going vertically. On their chests and necks, the brown streaks are horizontal.1&2


Barred Owls are still common throughout their habitats, but they’ve been moving into the coniferous forests in the Northwest, where they’ve become a problem for Spotted Owls. Spotted Owls are threatened and Barred Owls are a new competition with them for resources.2&3


They like to either take over old nests from other animals like hawks or crows, or pick a place inside a tree. The young will stay with the female after they're born, and they usually fly for the first time after they turn six weeks old.3


Barred Owls are mostly nocturnal, but they have been seen to be active during the day. When they hunt, they’ll go after mice, squirrels, rabbits, shrews, and more.3


What other owls would you like to hear about? Let us know and we’ll be sure to cover them in a future email! 

  1.  Sibley’s Owls of North America, by David Allen Sibley. Published by Earth Sky + Water, LLC. 2016.