If you’re ever walking through a North American forest at dusk and hear a wild hooting cry, don’t be alarmed. It’s probably not a monkey, but it just might be a Barred Owl! Barred Owls may be best known for their unique vocalizations, especially the unmistakable nine-noted hoot that is often translated to sound like, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” Besides that catchy call, these owls can be heard shrieking, crying, trilling, grumbling, and squeaking, especially during courtship. Sound exciting? It is! A pair of courting owls is certainly a sound to behold! The forest comes alive with the male’s chimpanzee-like calls and the females’ higher pitched responses.
Though Barred Owls are often easier to hear than they are to see, this is one owl that you just might be able to spot close to home. Barred Owls range over most of North America, and can be spotted hunting near cities, farms, dumps, and other developed areas. So keep your ears open and your eyes pealed for sign of this wild sounding owl!
Maps provided by The Birds of North America Online and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.