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Barred Owl

Scientific name: Strix varia

This nocturnal bird, which is brown-streaked with dark eyes, is a master of disguise and blends so well with its surroundings that you are unlikely to locate it by sight. Its call however is quite distinctive and is said to sound like”Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all”. This series of eight to nine notes is the easiest way to identify the barred owl. It also makes a barking sound, not unlike that of a dog.


Photo Credit: Missouri Department of Conservation


1.5 pounds


21 inches

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It forages for rodents, rabbits and other small mammals.


Listen for this owl where there is both woodland and water, such as a river, lake or other wetland. The owl lives here year round and does not migrate.

Ecosystem Connections

  • Its biggest natural enemy is the Great Horned Owl.
  • Owls are a natural form of rodent control.

Human Connections

It is possible to put up a nesting box to attract a pair, especially if you live near a water source. You will however need an arborist to set it high enough in a tree. Learn more.

Fun Facts

Its voice is known as ventroloquial, which means “hard to locate”. This is an important survival strategy and also confuses prey.

To Hear More

Go to the Macaulay Library.

More on Birds in Lewisboro