Most Barred Owls are about 16-25 inches tall and have a 38-49 inch wingspan. They usually have brown and white specks around their head and rough-grey feathers on their faces. You may only see black in their eyes from these pictures but they really have both brown and black eyes and are one of the few owls that have that color in their eyes, most have orange, yellow or black. Barred Owls are closely related to Spotted Owls which also have brown-black eyes. Barred Owls can be identified by their hoot, it is a hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo-ha-hoo sound. You can listen to their call at: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/barred_owl/sounds
Barred Owls are seen in forests and areas with lots of trees. A place called Tryon Creek State Natural Area holds a lot of Barred Owls. Tryon Creek is a park open to the public, in which many people come and go, but even though it is a public park, the Barred Owls still inhabit the area. You can see more about Tryon Creek at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryon_Creek_State_Natural_Area
These owls live mostly in the Eastern United States and only a few places in the west. Barred Owls are non migratory and don’t move around to different habitats much.
Barred Owls usually live in open woodlands with coniferous, deciduous forests. They will also inhabit swampy areas with dense woods. The forests they inhabit may hold hemlock, maple, beech, white spruce, quaking aspen and other aspen, balsam poplar, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, or western larch, but trees that quite a few Barred Owls prefer are oak and hickory.
Barred Owls Roost in their nests during the day and hunt at night and may forage on the ground for food.
Nesting and Nestlings:
In a large tree, Barred Owls nest in cavities 20-40 feet above the ground, but may also use stick nests built by other mammals and birds such as hawks, crows, ravens, and squirrels. Man-made boxes that are made for the purpose of Barred Owl and other owl nesting are also used for nests.
Barred Owls don’t usually change or add to any existing cavities, but for abandoned nest platforms, they may add materials such as lichen, feathers or sticks to their nest and may also flatten or get rid of the top of a left-behind squirrel nest. Their cavities are usually 10–13 inches across and 14–21 inches deep or deeper. One nest was recorded to be as big as 8 feet deep.
Pairs mate for life, having one brood per year. The female usually have a 2-3 drab-white eggs between March and April and is also the only one of the pair whom incubate the eggs (which usually lasts for a month, usually 28-33 days), while the male takes trips to retrieve food for the female. When the eggs hatch, the female broods them for four-five weeks. After that, they can fly and are capable to leave the nest, but they are still cared for (now by both parents), for a couple more weeks.
Note: The nestlings begin to lose their down feathers and moult into their adult feathers after about six weeks, and by 5-6 months old, they gain their full adult plumage. Most Barred Owls live between 10 and 23 years old.
Predator and Prey:
Barred Owls prefer to eat lots of amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and small mammals like mice, voles, rabbits, crayfish and chipmunks. Florida Barred Owls are known for eating armadillos and even young alligators.
Their nestlings and eggs are prey for other large owls, hawks and raptors as well as by weasels and raccoons. When people interfere with a nest, the parent Barred Owl may flee, perform a noisy distraction with quivering wings, or even attack the humans. Their most dangerous predator is the Great Horned Owl, which also eats eggs, young birds, and occasionally adults. Other non=raptors recognize Barred Owls as predators such as small songbirds, crows, and woodpeckers will join forces to mob them.