News & Articles
Browse all content by date.
The barred owl is a bird that relatively little is known about. Even though it is quite common throughout its range, there have been no real detailed studies on it. Some of what is known, however, I will include here.
Ranging in most of the eastern United States, in Minnesota, where they are considered a regular and permanent resident, the range is unique as it includes all but the southwestern and west portions of the state. In addition, it occupies a region close to the Minnesota River all the way to the South Dakota – Minnesota border.
The barred owl is considered to be in the group of large owls without ear tufts. It can be distinguished from a similar species, the great gray that has yellow eyes. Barred owls have brown eyes. They can be up to two feet long.
The barred owl has a territory of about a square mile. Within that territory is a smaller territory that is used by these birds during their mating season. During the winter it is suspected that these owls occupy a larger territory because of food scarcity. Its habitat is a variety of locations including near wetlands and in the woods.
Very little is known about the barred owl’s courtship but it is believed to occur in February or March. Nests are built usually over 20 feet up in trees and occasionally another bird’s nest is used. Tree cavities, lined with old wood chips, are preferred.
After an incubation period of about a month, two or three white eggs hatch. The one brood per year will stay with the parents where they learn to fly and hunt. Mice make up about half of the diet with frogs, spiders and other insects a majority of the remainder. These birds will be on their own come early fall.