About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Amazing Vocals of the Barred Owl

Could you please tell me what type of owl is this? I saw it while mushroom hunting. Thanks,
--Bryon Kavanagh Lansing, MI


I’m glad you had a camera. You’ve captured a very nice picture of a Barred Owl (Strix varia). This owl resides all over the entire state of Michigan, but its numbers are declining in the Lower Peninsula due to destruction of deciduous woodlands.

The Barred Owl has big beautiful brown eyes instead of the usual yellow eyes common in other owl species. They have horizontal barring around the neck and upper breast and vertical stripes below.

You may recognize their call. It's a resounding "hoo, hoo, too-HOO; hoo, hoo, too-HOO, ooo", often phrased as "Who, cooks, for-you Who, cooks, for-you, all" with the last syllable dropping off noticeably.

The birds usually hunt at night for smaller animals like voles, mice, and shrews. A bird seen during the day may be looking for extra food for babies.

After digesting their most recent meal, owls will form a pellet of the undigested remains of their prey and regurgitate it. Made up primarily of fur, feathers and bones, it is egested approximately 13-16 hours after eating.

So when you’re mushroom hunting keep an eye open for owl pellets. They are found in different locations, depending on the species but in general, it’s near their nesting sites.

You can also go to http://www.wbu.com/feedercam_home.html to watch the Wild Birds Unlimited owl box cam. Thanks for writing.


Yes I figured it was out hunting for young because I know owls are primarily nocturnal, later we found the nest w chicks a few 100 meters away. Here are some pics. This was near Kalkaska/Grayling area.

Wow, thanks for the update! They are just too cute. I'm glad you shared your photos.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

you hear from the most interesting people. Thanks for sharing.

Bob Hilscher said...

Great picture, I live in Toronto, Canada, and this past weekend, my wife, Jean, and I came upon a Barred Owl in the forest. What a beautiful bird. If your interested our pictures and video are at: http://frametoframe.ca/photo-essay-barred-owl-sighting-markham-ontario/