There are 11 species of owls in Maine. Some make Maine their year round, some stay only for a season. I’ve seen three species while wandering lakes and trails, and even in my own backyard. They are the Barred Owl, the Snowy Owl and Great Horned Owls.
Today I want to talk about Barred Owls. These are the owls who call hoo-hoo-hoo, hoo, hoo-hoohoo-hoo-a-aw – and it sounds to us kind of like “Who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks for-you-aaaaaall”. I mostly hear them at night, but during this time of the year, I begin to hear them in the daytime, too.
Our Maine Barred Owls build nests and lay their eggs in April, which is coming up very soon! Here is a Barred Owl bird cam in Zionsville, Indiana which you can watch right now! Three eggs have been laid! You can come back to the camera at any time to see how they are doing. With any luck, we’ll see owlets in a few weeks.
The Barred Owl above is using a nesting box, 30 feet in the air. There are cameras inside the box, and there are videos on the site of the adult leaving the box as well. Sometimes Barred Owls they take over old nests of other birds and squirrels, or they’ll nest in a hole in a tree.
Usually, when I have a Barred Owl sighting, it’s come to my backyard to stalk my bird feeders.
And when I say, “to stalk my bird feeder”, I mean it! Once, it sat right on top of it!
Barred Owls will eat small rodents like mice, chipmunks and squirrels, which is part of the reason they stalk my feeder. The small rodents come to eat seeds off the ground. But I won’t kid you, the owl is also here in hopes of stealing a small bird unlucky enough to cross its path.
Luckily, on this particular visit, all the other animals were smart enough to stay away. Maybe they heard the chickadees warning call:
It wasn’t long before the Barred Owl moved on.
Sometimes, the Barred Owl keeps to the shadows of my backyard. They blend in so well with the woods. Their feathers camouflage it perfectly. Once, I only knew it was sitting on a branch nearby, because I heard the blue jays hollering and dive bombing its location.
Barred Owls will sit quietly and wait for their prey to pass by them.
I have two videos to share with you . . . the picture is a bit shaky, but it’s really, really hard to hold an extra long camera lens up over your head.
Have you seen any owls lately? Do you have a favorite kind of owl? What about them makes them your favorite?
Write me a note below! I’d love to hear your owl sighting story.