Bird Identification – Barred Owl – Hoot Owl

If “a good child should be seen and not heard” what can be said for this owl? Its deep-toned whoo-whoo-who-whoo-to-whoo-ah, like the wail of some lost soul asking the way, is the only indication you are likely to have that a hoot owl lives in your neighbourhood. You can imitate its voice and deliberately “hoot it up.” Few people who know its voice will ever see its smooth, round, bland, almost human face.

“As useless as a last year’s nest” can have no meaning to a pair of these large hardy owls that go about toward the end of winter looking for a deserted woodpecker’s nest or a hawk’s, crow’s, or squirrel’s bulky cradle in some tree top. Ever after they hold it as their own.

Farmers shoot the owl that occasionally takes one of their broilers or a game bird, not knowing that the remainder of its diet really leaves them in its debt.