Barred Owl (Strix varia)

Order: Strigiformes,  Family: Strigidae

Appearance/Behavior: This large (43 – 50 cm) owl has a round head with no ear-like tufts (blue arrow) [to contrast the appearance of the barred owl to that of an owl with such tufts, view images of the great horned owl, click here]. Its light chest and underparts show dark, somewhat horizontal, barring on the breast (red arrow) and more vertically oriented stripes below.  The barred owl’s call is frequently heard during both day and night at the field site.  The few barred owl encounters at the compost piles all involved solitary individuals.

Relative Frequency of Visitation in Study: A rather uncommon visitor, with just a couple encounters.

Seasonal Activity: Potentially year-round.  Visitation documented in spring and fall.

Daily Activity:  Largely nocturnal, although occasionally seen fly during the day.

Similar Species:  The barred owl is fairly distinctive among species encountered at the compost piles.  The other relatively common large owl that occurs within the area of the study site is the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus).  Its tufted head distinguishes it from the barred owl.  The great horned owl has not been sighted at the compost piles.

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