Thursday, May 5, 2011


...the story of Barry the Barred Owl...
It all began one sunny Friday in late April when a dead tree was cut down.  A small owl was found on the ground clinging to a branch.  The owl was placed on an old shirt in a cardboard box.  
(size of 2 softballs)
The Raptor People were called.  The small owl was taken away to be checked for broken wings and to be fed and watched for 24 hours.
At last the Raptor People returned with the small owl!
(Cindy teaching about the owl)
The neighborhood children and adults gathered 'round to hear tales of raptors and to learn about this particular species of owl.  The children named him "Barry."*
Soon a "nest" (plastic milk crate) was roped to a tree near where the original nest had been. 
(Marc attaching the nest)
It wasn't long before both parents visited the nest.  After that initial visit, as far as we know, only the mother stayed at the nest.  (The father hunts, brings the food to the mother, who then tears it up and feeds it to the baby.)  
After a couple days, Barry moved out of the nest and sat on the edge of the crate.  
He grew and grew and grew! 
His mother spent most of her days and nights sitting with him on the edge of the nest. 
(mother in nearby tree)
She shooed away squirrels and kept him safe. Then one evening, Barry was gone!  We imagine that he is happily hopping from tree branch to tree branch.  In about a week he will fledge.  His parents will stay with him for a bit longer teaching him to hunt and continuing to feed him.

TIMELINE of a barred owl's life:
parents mate for life
nest is usually in a tree cavity
female lays 2-3 eggs per clutch 
eggs are brooded by female which then hatch about 4 weeks later
female remains with young while male hunts and brings food
young owls first hop out of the nest onto other branches at around 4 weeks
owls fledge at about 5-6 weeks 
some FACTS:
scientific name:  Strix varia
also called a wood owl or hoot owl
calls hoo hoo hoo-hoo or "who cooks for you"  Male's voice is lower than the female's.  See links below for sound recordings.
brownish grey with white bars across their chests
no ear tufts
found across Canada and the Eastern US south to Mexico. More recently this species has been found in the Western US as well. 
Adult is 16-25 inches long, about 1-2.5 lbs, with a wingspan of 38-50 inches.  Female is larger than the male.
not migratory; territory is about one square mile
lifespan is about 10 years in the wild, 23 years in captivity
prey:  opportunistic meat eater--birds, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, voles, mice, frogs, lizards, insects, and more
If a juvenile falls out of the nest, it may be able to climb back up the tree using its sharp talons and beak.

information and a few photos
barred owl habitat MAP
more facts
All About Birds scroll down for a variety of sounds these owls make

A huge THANK YOU to Cindy and Marc of Raptor, Inc, who took care of this baby owl, banded and re-nested it! 
RAPTOR, INC. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of birds of prey through rehabilitation, education, and conservation.  (Click the link in brown above for more information.)

Click any photo to see a larger version.
* Barry might be Bari!

photos © 2011 Margaret Freije, Zack Freije, Anita Mazza, Kim Torbeck


  1. Barry is beautiful! I'm so glad he was found and was okay! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story Margaret!

  2. What a wonderful story. Barry is very lucky that the person who found him knew to call the Raptor People. Even more wonderful that Barry was reunited with his parents.

    I love happy endings, thanks for sharing this Margaret.

  3. Barry is adorable! I share Sharla's (BeadedTail) sentiments exactly. So glad he was found and rehabilitated. I think it's fantastic that the organization educates too!

  4. What a victory that this owl was saved and returned to his family!


  5. Oh! Thank you so much for the photos! How cute :)
    And how great for Raptor, Inc. to come to the rescue!

  6. That's awesome, Margaret! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  7. Love, love, love this story! So warm and touching, and your information and photos are a plus!

  8. This story is so cute! I love owls too! Thanks for sharing.

  9. owls are so cute! I'm so glad Barry was able to be saved, and hope he grows up, big and strong {:-D

  10. Owls are my most favorite bird of all! And this one is extra sweet! I hope Barry/Bari lives a very long and happy life!

    xo Catherine

  11. Margaret's hubby here:
    Our little friend really "hooked" us. The last 2 days we would go out on the deck, maybe 40' away from the nest and immitate the Barred Owl call. Barry (I originally liked the names Gonzo-as in Gonzo the Great--the muppet-- and Oscar; one of our neighbor families suggested "Aloysius--pronounced Owl-o-ish-us". Maybe we'll give the Owl father that name)would just sit and stare at us. He definitely worked his owl magic on us. He grew very fast and was in very robust health. After he left we were distraught and missed him. But his departure just confirmed how healthy he was and the ways of nature. What a too brief, but great memory for us and our neighbors!

  12. This is a wonderful post! I hope Barry lives a long life and comes to visit occasionally.

    Several years ago I decided to enter a contest, an annual event by the city. The theme was wildlife in our area. I decided to paint a pastel of a red-tail hawk. I wanted to get some photos, so I went to a pow wow at one of our local parks. Raptors, Inc. was one of the exhibitors. They had a beautiful hawk, a female, who was blind in one eye. She would never be released back into the wild because she would die. She primped and posed for me and I got many fine photos. You can see the painting I did on my blog. It is on the right side-bar.
    Raptors,Inc. is a fine organization!!

  13. Wow, fantastic post! Great pictures, Barry is so cute! :D

  14. HI There, What a neat story.... You all saved that sweet little owl. I'm sure the Mama/Daddy were happy to have Barry back...

    I have been watching the Eagles nesting at Decorah, Iowa--and it has been so fascinating... I've learned so much about them.

    Thanks for sharing about the owls.

  15. What a fantastic post! Love, love the photos! So nice to see such a happy ending :)

  16. What a beautiful story! Barry is so cute! glad he is well. His mother is cute too! I love the photos :)

  17. Thats so cool that you got to do that!

  18. I love owls! We used to have one at our old house. I was thrilled everytime it flew over the yard and cast a giant shadow! So lucky!

  19. So beautifilled an experience. What joy to behold, and document.

    P.S. Changed name of my blog and awaiting for access under new shop/blog name into the team blog. Wrote to Joey... Thank you SO much for visiting my blog.

  20. Wow - what a story!
    We have owls here too, and they are shy creatures. I've never seen one right up close.

  21. I meant to say - I hope you get a Pieris because it is a beautiful plant. Out here, the deer leave it alone, which is a bonus. There are several varieties, but I think the prettiest is the one that is the most pink. Good luck!

  22. Wow, this is amazing! Great that the little owl was saved and that the mom came back to take care of it. My neighbors have seen owls around here but I haven't yet.

  23. Wow - how wonderful! What a great story. We have barn owls out here and some burrowing owls - they are really fun to watch. Thanks for sharing his/her adventure!

  24. I love that they brought a milk crate back as his nest.

  25. That is so cool! And he's so cute :)

  26. O gosh! What a wonderful time watching Barry! I don't think I've ever seen an owl that small. Learned lots and hope he continues to do well.

  27. I love owls. What a great experience to re-nest them when they need a little help.

  28. Wonderful post and photos! What a neat thing that your neighborhood was able to rally around this displaced baby owl!

  29. What an unbelievable story with a happy end ! and the pictures are great !


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