Why do Barred Owls Persist - My theory - They form strong family bonds

April 29, 2014  •  3 Comments
I was able to watch six very active Barred Owls within a 30 square meter area for one and one-half hours today. The unique aspect about this family unit is that it contains three (3) adults and three (3) fledglings. Two of the three adults are believed to be male.  One is a mature adult; the other is theorized to be a first-year male who did not lose its affinity for the nest site and learned to mimic its father's behavior to care for the female during incubation and brooding in a way that is acceptable to both adults.  
 
During my visit, it seemed the owls were in near constant communication with one another. If the adults were not amidst a three-way (hoo-hoo-to-hoo-ooo, hoo-hoo-hoo-to-whooo-ooo), the eldest fledgling would be calling for food with its best high-pitched whiny/shriek. Intermittently, one of the adults would perch outside the nest and issue a throaty, cluck-cluck-cluck call to the remaining nestling in an effort (we think) to encourage it to venture outside the comfort/security of the nest to the dinner table. 
 
We were fortunate enough to watch three prey-handoffs from the presumed male(s) to the female.  
 
Fifteen Images:

Comments

Rhett Wilkins(non-registered)
Super cool, and beautiful photos!

What an amazing opportunity this Barred Owl family is for birders and photographers. In more wild areas, this species can be extremely skittish by day. And getting close to their young? Forget about it.
Chris Sanborn(non-registered)
Wonderful! Thanks for the explanation of the family dynamic, it makes sense to me.
Jilly Williamson(non-registered)
Beautiful..as usual
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