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Barred Owl

barred owl(Srtix varia)

What is the life span of a barred owl?
Wild: Oldest recorded wild barred owl was 18.
Captive: Have lived past 20 years.

How old is Warner's barred owl?
Our barred owl is an adult. It is hard to determine her age. She has been in captivity since August of 2001.

How much does Warner's barred owl weigh?
Our barred owl weighs around 850 grams which is a little under 2 lbs.

What is her name?
She may have a name, but she hasn't told us yet. Our owl is not a pet, she is a captive wild animal. We have not named her as a reminder that she is not a domesticated animal.

Why do we have her?
The owl was in a head on collision with something in Bemidji on February 5 2001. She was sent to the Raptor Center to recover. Unfortunately, as a result of the accident, she is blind in her left eye and cannot be released to the wild as she would have impaired hunting ability.

How do we know she is really a "she"?
In many song birds the male and female look very different. The males are generally brighter colored to attract a mate and females are generally more camouflaged so as not to give away the location of their nest to predators. In owls we do not see this variation. Male and female owls look essentially the same. The main way to tell them apart is by size. In general, females are larger. Based on the size of the adult barred owl in our care we feel she is a female.

How many barred owls are there in Minnesota?
This is a common question but very hard to answer. We have been unable to locate good data on this number.

How many types of owls are there in Minnesota?
Twelve. Barn, Barred, Boreal, Burrowing, Great gray, Great horned, Northern hawk, Long-eared, Saw-whet, Eastern screech, Short-eared and Snowy. Both the Barn owl and Snowy owl are considered uncommon in Minnesota. The Great horned owl is the only owl found statewide.

How many types of owls are there in the world?
There are around 162 species of owls in the world.

What is the wingspan of a Barred Owl?
About 42 inches (3.5 feet)

What is the biggest owl?
In Minnesota: Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) 25 inches long, wingspan of about 5 feet, and weigh about 4 pounds.
In the world: The Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) 28 inches long, wingspan of about 5.2 feet, and weigh up to 9.8 pounds

What is the smallest owl?
In Minnesota: The Northern Saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) is the smallest owl in Minnesota at a height of just 7.5 inches and weighing approximately 3.7 ounces.
In the world: The elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi) found in the American southwest. It is about 6.1 inches long, has a wingspan of 15 inches, and weighs about 1.5 ounces .

What do barred owls eat?
Barred owls have a varied diet. They eat many small mammals, especially rodents such as mice and voles. They eat a variety of reptiles like lizards and snakes, as well as amphibians such as frogs and salamanders. They will occasionally eat insects, as well as birds stopping off at your bird feeder.

Do barred owls migrate?
Barred owls are territorial and non-migratory.

How big is a barred owl's territory?
213-903 acres. There are 640 acres in a square mile so a bared owl's territory can be anywhere from 1/3 to 1 1/2 square miles.

Do barred owls mate for life?
Barred owls form permanent pair bonds. Courtship begins in winter near the eventual nesting site.

Do barred owls reuse nests?
Barred owls are non-migratory and territorial so it is likely they can be found nesting in the same tree if it has proved suitable in the past.

When do barred owls lay eggs?
Barred owls like to get a jump on other species by nesting early. They lay 2 to 4 eggs in February or March.

How many young do barred owls have?
Barred owls lay 2 to 4 eggs in March or early April. The eggs are brooded by the female and hatch about 4 weeks later.

When do the young leave the nest?
Barred owls leave the nest or "fledge" four to five weeks after they hatch. As they are unable to fly at this point, this stage is often called "branching." The owls move out onto nearby branches.

Is it OK to return a baby bird to a nest?
It is OK to put a baby bird back into a nest. A bird's sense of smell is poor except in vultures, so the mother bird will not smell your scent and abandon her babies, as many people believe.

How good is a barred owl's vision?
Barred owls have very good eyesight which aids them in hunting. It is hard to be totally accurate but some claim barred owls have up to eight times better vision than humans. Their eyes are also tubular rather than round to facilitate better distance vision. Unlike many birds with eyes on the sides of their heads, the predator owls have both eyes on the front of their heads for true binocular vision.

Can an owl turn its head all the way around?
Owls cannot turn their heads all the way around. They can, however, turn their heads an impressive three quarters of the way around. This, combined with very rapid head movement sometimes gives the illusion they have turned their heads all the way around. They turn their heads because there is no room in their heads for eye muscles and must move their heads to change their field of view. They are able to accomplish such head movement as they have 14 vertebrae in their necks. This is twice as many as in mammals.

How do barred owls catch food in the winter?
Barred owls rely on their excellent hearing to focus in on animals burrowing through snow. As they also eat smaller birds they have been spotted picking off prey at bird feeders.

What is an owl pellet?
When an owl eats it eats all of an animal, and this includes indigestible parts such as bones and fur. These items are regurgitated or cast up as a pellet. Pellets can be found in the forest and dissected to determine what was eaten.

What is a crop?
Owls DO NOT have a crop. A crop is a widening of the esophagus where a bird can store food to be digested or regurgitated later for young. It is a common misconception that owls have crops.

The information above is common scientific knowledge. For a list of specific resources, visit the Animal FAQ Resources page.

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