Barred Owls growing up

I continued to visit the Barred Owl family at Gemini Springs as much as I could last month. And I took a lot of photos. You have been warned. 🙂

baby Barred Owls
both babies | 16 April 2012

On April 20th I was kind of surprised to find one of the adults feeding a baby. Earlier I had seen adults delivering small prey items to the babies but this meal seemed to be a large rat or maybe a pocket gopher. The adult bit off pieces and fed them to the baby.

Barred Owl adult feeding baby
begging baby | 20 April 2012

Barred Owl adult feeding baby
Barred Owl feeding baby | 20 April 2012

got yer nose
“got your nose!!” | 20 April 2012

feeding baby | 20 April 2012

When they were done, the adult flew off with the remains of the prey and perched on her own, away from the baby.

Barred Owl
a break after feeding baby | 20 April 2012

Four days later I was watching the Red-shouldered Hawk nest, which is in a different part of the park than where I generally find the Barred Owls. I was taking photos of baby Red-shouldered Hawks when I suddenly heard the unmistakeable hiss of a baby Barred Owl coming from just behind where I was standing. After a bit of searching, I found one baby and one adult Barred Owl.

baby Barred Owl dead center
here baby sits dead center in the frame | 24 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
baby Barred Owl | 24 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
baby Barred Owl | 24 April 2012

This location is about 350 yards from the usual Barred Owl spot. I don’t know if the babies are strong fliers at this age (which I don’t really know, exactly). Could the baby have flown all the way to this new spot? If not, would two families of Barred Owls nest so close together? Arthur and I had seen one adult Barred Owl in this area once before. Hmm.

Barred Owls
baby Barred Owl with parent | 24 April 2012

During my next two visits, on April 29th and 30th, I found all four family members back in the area where I originally found them. I noticed that one of the babies stayed very close to an adult, while the other baby had ventured off on its own to explore. The meek baby showed great alarm when a dog-walker passed by, even clacking its beak and scrambling along a branch to be closer to its parent. The other baby spent all of its time looking around, seemingly on the hunt.

baby Barred Owl
bold baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
bold baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012


bold baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
shy baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012

baby Barred Owl
shy baby Barred Owl | 29 April 2012

I’ve had so much fun watching this beautiful family of owls. I hope I’ll be able to continue locating and observing them as they grow up.

Barred Owl (bold baby)
bold baby Barred Owl | 30 April 2012

Barred Owl (shy baby)
shy baby Barred Owl | 30 April 2012

Barred Owls (shy baby & parent (mom?))
shy baby Barred Owl with adult (mom?) | 30 April 2012


preening Barred Owl (dad?) | 30 April 2012

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4 Responses to Barred Owls growing up

  1. Rae says:

    Wow! I have had so much fun reading about your adventures with the Barred Owl babies and looking at your photographs. Two in particular caught my eye: the shy baby Barred Owl with adult and the shy baby Barred Owl (the 2nd one with it looking up to the left). You should definitely consider submitting them to the Audubon photography contest!

  2. leeann atherton says:

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for posting. I was just trying to identify the cutest little owl that flew right up to me… and found your page!

  3. Carol Coddington says:

    We have a baby that wandered into our yard from the back woods. The screeching for food was pretty consistent. Another one showed up the next day but was gone the following morning and seemed a little more advanced than the first one. Well, since there does not seem to be an adult around (no calls or sightings) I was worried about it starving. Fed it some shrimp. Rains started that night and the next morning the owlet was on our porch. I have been feeding raw chicken on a stick. Last night it was gone from the porch but called from the yard. I was hoping in a week or two it would gain enough to wander off and survive !!!! Don’t know what happened to the other owlet….have not heard any other screeching or adult calling. Now what to do !!!!

  4. Amy says:

    Carol: Please call a wildlife rehabber for advice about your situation. Do not provide any food for wild owls. You might not hear or see adults birds attending to their chicks. Baby Barred Owls leave the nest before they are very strong flyers. Please contact a licensed rehabber local to your area to discuss your specific situation.

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