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Barred Owl (Strix varia)

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Here Come the Barred Owls

The emphatic hoots of a pair of Barred Owls resonate in the still of a winter's night. Like many owls, Barred Owls initiate their vocal courtship in winter. A fairly large owl - a perching bird is 21 inches tall - Barred Owls are also among the most vocal. More than a dozen Barred Owl calls range... read more »

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The Barred Owl Calls

Barred Owls are very territorial, and they don't migrate. Solitary calls from a male in early spring probably mean that he has not attracted a mate. In May and June, he continues to hoot, though less frequently. By summer, breeding season has passed. Maybe this solitary Barred Owl is what some... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Barred Owlets Nap

Keeping its talons tightly gripped on a branch, a Barred Owlet will sometimes lie down on its stomach, turn its head to the side, and fall asleep. A young owl doesn't fall out of the tree while it snoozes, because its back toe, the hallux, holds onto the branch. The hallux will not open or let go... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Barred Owl Revives

The emphatic hoots of Barred Owls resonate in the still of a winter's night. These owls initiate their vocal courtship in winter. Their signature hooting sequence has been memorably described as "who-cooks-for-you?! who-cooks-for-you-all?!" Watch for them at dawn or dusk, as they fly low to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  rehabilitation, vocalization

The Folklore of Owls

Thanks to Harry Potter, the owl is flying high. But throughout history, the owl has received mixed reviews. The Greeks believed an owl flying over a battlefield foretold victory, while in other cultures, owls were considered omens of death, prophets of doom. Listen to the story again, and you'll... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth

Strange Sounds

What an amazing array of sounds birds have to offer! The call of a male Yellow Rail sounds like someone tapping two small stones together. And Turkey Vultures hissing at one another over a carcass sound like a snarling lion. The duet between the male and female Barred Owls seen here is especially... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization

Night Voices of Summer

At the close of a summer day, the songbirds go silent. As if on cue, the birds of the night make their voices known. In an Eastern woodland, the eerie trills and whinnies of an Eastern Screech-Owl are among the first sounds of the night. Meanwhile, as night falls west of the Rockies, the Western... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound, vocalization

What's Different this Year? We Ask Listeners

BirdNote asked our Facebook fans about the birds they observed in their yards this spring. Some people say they have more birds. Others say fewer. And why? Changes in habitat mean changes in species. In one person’s yard on San Juan Island, in Washington State, more trees mean more Barred Owls.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, gardening

Noticing Birds in the Back Yard, With Denise Acsay

BirdNote asked listeners to tell us about the bird life around their homes. BirdNote’s Dominic Black met up with Denise Acsay — who lives on San Juan Island in Washington State — to learn more about Denise’s love of birds such as this Barred Owl. Denise says her favorite bird sounds are heard in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  listener story, reflection
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