Who Cooks for You?

Barred Owl - Strix varia Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge - November, 2006

Barred Owl – Strix varia
photo taken in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in 2006

That’s the way we remember one of the calls of the Barred Owl – who_who who_whoooo (who cooks for you).

We’ve been hearing them in our yard and the yards adjoining this spring and summer.  Occasionally we’ll be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of two or three moving around in the pines at dusk.  At least two neighbors have reported that they have them nesting in their back yards.  One says they have been in residence for at least eight years.

Two nights ago at 2:00 a.m. we were awakened to a sound like the caterwauling of a howler monkey.  There were at least two talking back and forth.   Based on Cornell’s All About Birds site, we think this is a mated pair.

I went outside to get a recording and they were moving all around sometimes sounding only 15 or 20 feet away.  But since they are masters at stealth mode, I could neither see them nor hear them fly.  This went on for almost an hour.

Even though we rarely see these birds, we love hearing them at night.  And being such good nighttime hunters they help keep the rodent population in check.  We also have the Great Horned Owl and Eastern Screech-Owl here.  We’ll talk about them in a future post.

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