Barred Owls are pretty common here. Many mornings and evenings we hear the call that sounds like “Who cooks for you or Who cooks for you alllll”. They are tough to spot as they sit so still on their perches their feathering blending well in the woods.
This owl has used the same perch beside a slew or spot that usually holds water most of the year. Which is a good place to look for them although I have found them around the lake in cedar trees. You can’t approach them to close. They fly off when approached. The soft feathered wings emitting barely a sound. Doing a little research I found they were once an Easter bird only. Now their range has extended across country and they are competing with the spotted owl and hybridizing with them some in California. Due they think to the planting of trees across the plains allowing them to extend their natural range.
The barred owls eat mostly rodents, small birds and fish. Nesting 20-30 feet off the ground in natural tree holes or nesting spots created by broken branches. They do not do much to create a comfortable nest only placing some feathers, lichen and a few twigs in the spot. Horned owls are the most threat to eggs, chicks, and adults. However Raccoons may also invade the nests to eat the eggs. The owls do not migrate much usually remaning in a six mile radius.
The light was so poor yesterday I had to drop the shutter speed down to 1/30th of a second to capture these photos. Shot from the car with my left hand grasping the window frame and cradling the lens in the crook of my elbow. When we used to have Springer Spaniels they would go sort of crazy and bark when these owls went to hooting outside or on the TV. The other dogs we have had do not respond this way. Work to do today shifting goats and preparing to head back to spend time with our granddaughter. It looks like the light will be good so maybe I can sneak away and take a few pics before we head east.