Afterwork: Cropped and sharpened.
Birds of Prey - Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Barred Owl is known by many names (Eight Hooter, Rain Owl, Wood Owl and Striped Owl to name a few) but probably known best as the Hoot Owl. Hes no stranger to the Southeast US and he can be found across the Eastern half of North America as far south as the southern tip of Florida and as far north as central Canada. The Hoot Owl is a homebody and generally travels no more than a few miles from his birthplace throughout his whole life of about as many as 10 years in the wild. He mates for life and often reuses the same nest every year. He prefers swamps, wetlands and heavy woodlands but may choose suburban patches of mature evergreens as a suitable home as well. Although he is quite common hes still a sight to behold when hes spotted in your own back yard.
Like most species of owls he hunts primarily at night though often one can hear him call during the day. HOOO, HOOO! His haunting voice carries across his domain. His signature call is Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all? He sits on a favorite perch and looks from side to side with large, dark brown eyes for the slightest movement of a rodent, insect, spider or tasty amphibian. Although mice are his favorite food he is known to eat fish and frogs as well which throws him into the category of pond predator. Our best defense against the owl is to net the pond so that he cant get to our pond animals. Hes a raptor and its illegal to kill or injure him. Its even illegal to hold him captive. The Barred Owls only natural enemy is the Great Horned Owl but most of the time it is an act of man that kills him. He is shot or becomes road kill. He is hit by cars because he often hunts for rodents in the bushy, over-growth of weeds along the sides of the highway.
He appears to be enormous and can be as tall as 25 with a wingspan of 50 but he is surprisingly light, his weight topping at just over 1 pound. He is brownish-gray with alternating bands of color throughout his body. He does not have the ear tufts that other owl species have. He makes hardly any sound at all when he flies thanks to the unique outer edges of his feathers.