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BARRED OWL } Strix varia

RANGE: Widespread in North America throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico. There are three subspecies of barred owl in the United States and Canada, and a fourth in Mexico.

STATUS: The global population is Secure. Imperiled in Delaware and Nebraska.

THREATS: Shootings, roadkill

The barred owl sports elegant, couture markings on its cowl and breast. This rather common bird (globally speaking) can be found throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico — especially in dense woods and wooded swamps with nearby open areas for foraging. Like many other owls, the barred owl’s diet is varied: Even though it prefers small rodents, it will hunt for other birds, arthropods, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. These owls are monogamous, perhaps even mating for life, and they set up home most often in tree cavities — though some pairs have been known to renovate an abandoned hawk or crow’s nest in a pinch.

Photo by Bill Garland, USFWS