August 19, 2019

CT Naturalist: Barred Owl vs. Blue Jay

Connecticut backyards never cease to provide amazing encounters with wildlife. This week we highlight an amazing interaction between a Barred Owl and a Blue Jay.

It’s rare enough to encounter an owl in your backyard, but the feud with the blue jay adds a whole new dimension to this sighting.

A Barred Owl perched above an open lawn at twilight, browsing the grass for small rodents and large insects. But this owl is not alone; there is still enough afternoon light for blue jays to remain active. And when a blue jay discovers an owl, it declares a major turf war.

This blue jay dive bombs, flanks, and screams at the quite Barred Owl.  Although, the owl appears harmless, Barred Owls have been known to feed on blue jays, if the jays are on the ground during the owls hunting hours.

Barred Owls are difficult to find in the wild because of their nocturnal behavior and camouflage plumage. However, of all the owl species, Barred Owls are the most likely to be active during daylight hours.

If pileated woodpeckers are present in the area, there is a good chance a Bard Owl may nest nearby, as owls often take residence in the woodpecker’s abandoned tree cavities.

A Barred Owl has a distinct call that has cadence that resembles the phrase, “Who..Cooks..for..you”.

Be on the lookout for Barred Owls in your community. They are one of Connecticut’s most amazing birds!

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