The Barred Owl is a medium-sized gray-brown Owl streaked with white horizontal barring on the chest and vertical barring on the belly. They are round-headed with a whitish/brown facial disk with dark brown trim. The eyes are brown, and the beak is yellow and almost covered by feathers. They have a long tail. There is no difference in plumage between males and the larger females.
Barred Owls prefer deep moist forests, wooded swamps, and woodlands near waterways. Though the Barred Owl is basically a nocturnal bird, it is a very opportunistic hunter and will hunt even before dark. The Barred Owl feeds mainly on small mammals such as field mice, shrews, and deer mice. It also eats small squirrels, baby rabbits, bats, moles, possums, minks, and weasels. The Barred Owl often sits on a tree branch or any other perch waiting for prey and then swoops down quickly to grab its food.
The Barred Owl is a highly vocal Owl giving a loud and resounding "hoo, hoo, too-HOO; hoo, hoo, too-HOO, ooo" which is often phrased as "Who, cooks, for-you? Who, cooks, for-you, all?" - The last syllable drops off noticeably. Like some other Owl species, they will call in the daytime as well as at night. The calls are often heard in a series of eight, then silence, when the Owl listens for a reply from other Owls.
The reason behind the name Barred Owl is the bars of brown and white across the bird’s chest.
The scenic trails throughout the CMA will cover woodlands and marshes. There are a variety of boardwalks, but after a rain some parts of the trails may become wet and then proper footwear is recommended.
For information on the GSWA, and the CMA, please visit their web site at www.greatswamp.org
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