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Here Come the Barred Owls

You'll hear them before you see them!

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 from a "siren call" to a "wail" to a wonderfully entertaining "monkey call."

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Here Come the Barred Owls

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 

This is BirdNote![Typical hoot sequence of a pair of Barred Owls]

The emphatic hoots of a pair of Barred Owls resonate in the still of a February night. So-called for the stripes on their breast, Barred Owls are among the largest owls in North America. They're also the most vocal. Their signature hooting sequence has been memorably described as “who-cooks-for-you?! who-cooks-for-you-all?!” [Typical hoot sequence of a pair of Barred Owls]

But this is just one of more than a dozen Barred Owl calls, ranging from a “siren call” to a “wail” to a wonderfully entertaining “monkey call.” [Barred Owl monkey call]

Although the Barred Owl’s calls have long been heard in Eastern forests, it is a relative newcomer to the western US. During the 20th Century, its breeding range has expanded into the North and the West, and down as far as northern California. 

The exact reasons behind the expansion aren't certain. But new riparian forests, fire suppression, and the planting of shelter-belts in the northern Great Plains are some of the human impacts that have likely played a role.   

No matter what accounts for the Barred Owl’s dramatic sweep across the continent, the bird – and its extraordinary voice – seem here to stay. [Barred Owl “monkey call”]

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Call of the Barred Owl provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Orni-thology, Ithaca, New York. Barred Owl [105433] recorded by G.A. Keller

BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Dominic Black

© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org  February 2017/2019  Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#    022607BADO2 BADO-01b

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