On this edition of Amanda's Zoo Crew, we learn about the Barred Owl.
"It gets that name because when you're looking at it's feathers you can see that there's barring on them, the lines going down and across," said Oxbow Park Naturalist, Clarissa Schrooten. "I always say it's so similar to the bars on our exhibit that hold the birds inside."
One of the Barred Owls biggest assets is it's hearing.
"They use their hearing a lot more and when you look at an owls face you notice it has more of a circular or heart shaped face to it, those are what we call the facial disks and an owl has control of those facial disks," said Schrooten. "So it's the same as if you were to take your hands and cup it and put it behind your ear and push your ear forward. It funnels the noise into your ear a lot better and it directs it straight into your ear canal which is exactly what the facial disks do for the owl."
This allows the Barred Owl to more easily locate things, like animals that could become food.
"They can actually pin point exactly where that noise is coming from and the reason they can pin point so well is because they have one ear that's located higher up on their head and then one is lower down on their head so they have what we call asymmetrical hearing but the two features together make them awesome and able to pinpoint exactly where a noise comes from."
There vision is also a major factor when hunting.
"There eyes are adapted to be able to see at night," said Schrooten. "Owls are known for being nocturnal and because they're so large they can take in light from almost any source that's out there. Now if it's completely pitch black they can't see in the dark but I've heard the analogy used that if they're in a football field, if there is one candle they can read a newspaper across that football field with just that one candle."
Barred Owls are raptors and use their talons to kill prey before eating it.
The are typically solo birds except for mating. After mating the male leaves and the female raises the babies and teaches them the basics of flying and hunting.
The Barred Owl are one of the most commonly heard owls in Oxbow park.
"For conservation status they are protected because they are a bird of prey, a raptor, otherwise their populations are thriving, they're doing well, in that regard but they'll be always protected because they are a bird of prey." said Schrooten.
For more information about the Barred Owl check out: Minnesota DNR, All About Birds and Audubon.