How to Spot a Barred Owl

How to Spot a Barred Owl
The barred owl is also commonly called a hoot owl or swamp owl. It is a carnivorous bird of prey that inhabits every state east of the Mississippi River and also portions of the northwest. The barred owl is grayish-brown in color with a series of white bars that stretch across their chest, giving them their names. Although this species of owl hunts mostly at night, it is possible to spot one if you know when and where to look.


Difficulty: Challenging

Step 1
Recognize the barred owl's distinctive call. The barred owl is very loud with its call, which sounds like "Hoo hoo, to hoo ho." This frequently heard hooting can occur in the daytime but is most often heard at night. The hooting is often long-lasting and may potentially give you a hint as to what area the barred owl is frequenting if you can follow the sound to its location.
Step 2
Search near the water for a barred owl. This species enjoys eating frogs, crayfish, snakes and smaller fish so it will fly down to the edge of ponds, streams, lakes and rivers to capture these creatures.
Step 3
Look for a swooping barred owl at dusk or on a gray and cloudy day. The barred owl sometimes hunts at these times, especially before it begins the nesting season in the early spring. It will swoop down from a branch and grab mice, moles, voles, shrews, rabbits and squirrels as well as other smaller mammals and even birds.
Step 4
Rap on the trunk of hollow and dead trees and look up to see if a barred owl lives in it. The barred owl prefers to nest in the cavities of a dead tree or in an abandoned hawk or crow nest.
Step 5
Search the ground below trees in the forest for owl pellets. Like all owls, a barred owl will eat the fur, feathers and bones of its prey. It will then regurgitate what cannot be digested in the form of small pellets. These pellets beneath a tree are a sure sign that an owl uses the tree for its nest or sits in the tree when it is eating. Remember the location and quietly go back to it sometime at dusk and you may spot a barred owl in it.

Tips & Warnings

A barred owl will gallantly defend its nest when it has young so be careful if you do find one in the woods.

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