May 5, 2016 – Barred Owl (Strix varia)

Requested by: @thefireinthewire

Once found primarily in eastern North America, these owls expanded their range into the Pacific Northwest and western Canada in the twentieth century. They eat mostly small mammals, such as mice and squirrels, as well as birds, amphibians, reptiles, and some insects and aquatic animals. Usually hunting from a perch, they search for food by watching and listening carefully, then drop down onto their prey. Often nesting in hollow trees, they also sometimes use old hawk, crow, or squirrel nests, occasionally adding some lichen, twigs, or feathers. Females do most or all of the incubation, while males bring them food. In the Pacific Northwest they are displacing and hybridizing with Spotted Owls, a smaller and less aggressive species.