Strix varia

Classified amongst the biggest owls found in North America, the Barred Owl can measure up to 50 centimeters in height. When flying, it has a wingspan that can measure up to 110 centimeters in length.

The Barred Owl can be distinguished by its unique plumage. Its chest is covered by alternating horizontal brown and white lines of feathers. On the other hand, its abdomen is covered by alternating vertical brown and white lines of feathers. However, what makes this owl stand out the most, are its bright yellow beak and its dark eyes (it’s the only owl species to have dark-colored irises).

As food source, Barred Owls mainly hunt for rodents such as mice and from time to time, they will feed on frogs, birds, insects, reptiles; even hares.

As for its habitat, this bird of prey typically lives in dense mixed forests (i.e. both coniferous and deciduous (or leafy) forests), wooded areas or groves located near waterways and swamps. These environments consist of ideal areas for the Barred Owl to find its perfect nesting spot. Like the Great Horned Owl, it takes over abandoned nests left behind by American Crows or other predatory birds. Under normal conditions, the Barred Owl lays 2 to 3 eggs each spring and broods them for 30 days.