Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Juvenile Barred Owl

 


This photo was taken in mid-September but this young-of-the-year can still be recognized by the downy tips on the feathers on his head.
Lanark County has quite a bit of great Barred Owl habitat. Unlike the Great Horned Owl, they need extensive areas of forest for breeding and cannot make do with small woodlots or even trees in hedgerows as that species can. For this reason, they have largely abandoned most of southwestern Ontario with its agricultural landscape. However, the southern Canadian shield provides great habitat and populations have actually increased in the past few decades as many previously cleared areas have grown up into mature forest. They particularly like hunting around wetlands and should be expected near beaver ponds in the forested parts of the county. The loud and far-carrying, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-aaall?” is a familiar sound during late winter and early spring. Calls can be heard throughout the year, though, and even occasionally during the day, especially if it’s cloudy.

Barred Owl (photo: Lise Balthazar, Sept. 16, 2019)