Friday, September 16, 2011

look whoo's back!

There is a cacophony in our backyard and we suspect he's come back.   My husband, Will, and I walk back into the woods to see what's going on.  We see an especially loud, frantic bird dive bombing something.  Yellowing leaves drift down.  More bird commotion.

Then, a few flaps of some huge wings and a Barred Owl (Strix varia) lands on the branch of a tall dogwood tree, just a few feet away from us!

I run in for my camera and when I get back he poses for me for a good long while before flying from oak to pine to maple.

I don't know if this is actually the same owl who's visited in the past, but Barred Owls can live for more than 20 years (incredible!) with a typical lifespan in the wild of about 10 years, so it could be the same one returning to the same part of my yard every year.

I find out that voles are his favorite meal and understand why he comes here to this yard.  I hope he hunts all night!

In the morning darkness, I hear him again. This is what he sounds like at around 5 a.m. You often hear it described as "Who cooks for you?"  Can you hear it?  To me it's just "Hoo hoo hoo HOOO," but I do love the sound.


A good You Tube video (and short) if you want to hear what it sounds like when an owl visits.

Previous owl visits to A Charlotte Garden:
2010  2009

The Owl Pages
The Carolina Raptor Center


  1. Great great great photos of your Barred Owl!! We have them in our area and have had a couple opportunities to get a photo, though they are up in a tree and quite camouflaged. They make a territorial call that sounds like a dog barking too.
    Like you I hope the owl comes and visits my vole ridden yard.
    Great youtube clip of the owl.

  2. He's so handsome! Amazing that he posed for you that way.