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Featured Photo: Barred Owl

January 14, 2011

Barred Owls are not your typical feeder birds, but we have heard from a number of FeederWatchers over the past few weeks about close encounters with these wonderful birds. A series of snow storms in the East has led to an increase in sightings near feeders. The owls are presumably searching for rodents in the vicinity of the feeders. Jo-Ann Ecker of Woodstock, Vermont, wrote, “We have been waiting for our resident Barred Owl to show up at our feeder and it took the huge snow storm of January 12 to do it.  He sat very patiently waiting for something to show up but unfortunately he flew away empty beaked.”

Barred Owl by Jo-Ann Ecker

Barred Owl searching for lunch by Jo-Ann Ecker.

To learn more about Barred Owls, visit the species account on All About Birds.

  1. January 14, 2011 9:59 pm

    Just beautiful! I would love to see a barred owl (even at my feeders). Doubt I will here in a village setting but will look for on trips to Watertown, NY in more rural areas given the increase in sightings. I spotted a Snowy Owl last year on same trip!

  2. Lilly permalink
    January 16, 2011 1:34 pm

    I’m new to feederwatch and I can’t wait to get pictures like this!

  3. Troy Brown permalink
    January 16, 2011 2:14 pm

    We’ve been watching our barred owl near our feeders the last few weeks. I’ve heard them at night during the summer the last couple of years. On Tuesday, I was able to see the capture of a shrew that wandered outside its snow caves.

    Today, we saw a record number of cardinals (for us) and were thinking the cardinals were following the barred owl around. We saw seven males and five female cardinals while the owl was looking around. Such an incredible bird!

  4. Luisa permalink
    January 17, 2011 1:01 am

    Awesome! I saw a Western Screech-Owl on my feeder several times during the 2009-2010 Project FeederWatch season, always quite late at night. I’ve heard one this year, but no sightings yet…

  5. Linda Miller permalink
    January 18, 2011 12:07 am

    Wonderful pictures Jo-Ann. He was certainly patient for a possible meal. I am pretty sure we have barred owls in the Teton Valley, Idaho but because they come out at dusk or nighttime, hard to identify. I have seen great grays though — magnficent!

  6. January 24, 2011 6:37 am

    I am in Vermont, too, and while we didn’t have a barred owl at the feeder, there was one on a low branch at the edge of the driveway one snowy evening last week. My husband was plowing with our tractor and, with lights on, drove within 10 feet of it, and it didn’t move.

    We have chickens and turkeys and livestock, and I suspect it was after the rodents that follow the grain. We have plenty of rodents to share, so I’m good with that. 🙂

  7. steve permalink
    January 24, 2011 10:50 am

    We saw our first barred owl yesterday, on a phone wire over the meadow along our driveway in Western NC.

    The best and easiest thing we all can do to provide food for owls and hawks is to stop mowing as much of the lawn as possible. We enjoy seeing wildlife right near our house, from shrews, field mice and rabbits to foxes, bobcats, hawks and owls. Not to mention a nice mix of grasses and wildflowers, which attract butterflies, moths and bees, plus many smaller bird species in all seasons.

    Continually remove invasive plants, plant natives if you like, but leave everything else alone. Another reward for swearing off yard work is that you have more time for birdwatching.

  8. Elizabeth Morris permalink
    January 24, 2011 12:41 pm

    Jan. 24/11 We live in north western Wisconsin.
    Last nite we had a Great Gray Owl in the top of our dead spruce tree that we have a bird feeder on. At nite we have flying squirrels come to that feeder.
    This owl was very large and we have seen him come at other times.
    After he flew off I hear a deep whoo-hoo-hoo coming from the trees south of the yard.

  9. marilynn shea permalink
    January 24, 2011 3:00 pm

    All I can think of is “doesn’t look too “bird-brained”, as we know it….
    looks like he knows
    where the food goes…

  10. Marylu permalink
    January 24, 2011 6:57 pm

    I am sad to have our Barred Owl in Durham, NC as now I have goldfinch feathers everywhere… have lost several of these birdfeeder favorites this week.

  11. January 25, 2011 9:45 am

    Wow, incredible photos!

  12. Kathleen permalink
    January 27, 2011 12:29 am

    Do owls only eat seeds, fruit or suet, or do they mostly (or only) eat prey like rodents and smaller birds? I have seen Hawks swoop down on my Georgia feeder, but not owls.

    • Barbara Tuset permalink
      November 26, 2011 8:19 am

      I was hunting on the internet for accounts of barred owls eating carrion and have seen a lot of mention of them eating suet. I saw one along the side of a busy rural road at dusk on 11/22/2011 in Fairfax County Virginia fully engaged in feeding on a deer carcass. I turned around to pass him again and as I slowed at about 15 feet away he looked straight at me then went back to feeding. Amazing.

      • Suparna permalink
        February 21, 2012 2:16 am

        For my kid’s science project, I was searching for info on ‘Birds that eat dead animals’ and was especially looking for anything on Barred Owls as I saw some pictures of one such owl actually eating a carrion. Good to find your post here which reaffirms that Barred Owls do ear carrions (atleast some of them) 🙂 Thanks.

  13. Jeremy Darman permalink
    January 27, 2011 12:41 pm

    We’ve had a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk monitoring our feeders in Columbia County NY for the past month. Poor thing flew into my kitchen window last week when swooping for a junco.

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