How do our birds compare? While bald eagles are clearly the heavyweights of the group, barred owls and great horned owls are territorial and can be quite aggressive. All three are generalist feeders. Bald eagles build stick nests, while barred owls and great horned owls nest opportunistically.
This line-up makes it pretty clear that the area is as desirable to owls as it is to eagles. Like much of the #driftless, the area encompasses forest, blufflands, running water, ponds, and open spaces. Food is abundant and nests and potential perching spaces abound.
We know how eagles and owls interact. But how do great horned owls and barred owls interact? It looks like great horned owls are a bigger problem for barred owls than they are for bald eagles. The good people at Cornell Lab of Ornithology write that ...A barred owl's most dangerous predator is the Great Horned Owl, which eats eggs, young birds, and occasionally adults. A video made by Dragonlainey on the night of February 3rd features the sounds of great horned and barred owls. It opens with great horned owl calling. Instead of the familar pair hooting, this sounds a bit more like a harnk call - another great horned owl call that isn't especially well-understood (this is a guess on my part and I will add more information if I get it). Familiar GHO hooting starts at about 1:05 into the video, and at about 3:15, we hear an unearthly noise that sounds a lot like the alarm call of barred owls as recorded at The Owl Pages.
- Great Horned Owl Vocalizations (note that several came from Karla):
- Barred Owl Vocalizations:
At present, I suspect the owls and eagles will live uneasily together in inter- and intra-order competition. If we can find and reach the barred owl nest, it would be interesting to band the young and study the family's movements now that great horned owls have arrived.
Additional Owl blogs from RRP
- 2014 - Owls in N2: http://goo.gl/glgEHx
- 2013 - Strigiformes (general information): http://goo.gl/hseHSD
- Karla Bloem, International Owl Center, personal communication and website. The International Owl Center isn't far from Decorah, Iowa, for those of you planning trips. #Driftless #Owls #YouShouldVisit
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology on Barred Owls, Great Horned Owls, and Bald Eagles.
- The wonderful owl pages website. If you are an owl fan, check it out: http://www.owlpages.com/
Did you know?
- A barred owl is attacking joggers in Salem, Oregon: http://goo.gl/ABw1BP