Shakespeare – Barred Owl
Hatched: Spring 2004
Shakespeare was brought to the World Bird Sanctuary as an orphan. Brought to World Bird Sanctuary as an orphaned chick, Shakespeare quickly became a favorite of the staff and interns who helped raise him.
Barred owls are known for their laid back character and this bird is no exception. He quickly became comfortable around visitors and crowds. He is very calm and well behaved and is well suited to visiting schools, nursing homes and even outdoor events.
Shakespeare loves to watch airplanes and is generally curious. He likes to grab fistfuls of rocks and carry them to his perch. He is a popular “spokes-bird” for his species and is fed a diet of rat, quail, mouse and chicken meat.
Species: Barred Owl
Scientific Name: Strix varia
Description: large and stocky; broad wings; short tail; gray-brown with white barring above and pale with dark, horizontal barring on the upper chest, and dark vertical streaking below; big brown eyes; yellow bill
Sex: females larger than males
Age: juveniles beg with a rising hiss “ksssssshhip” sound; there is no difference in plumage
Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Habitat: coniferous or mixed woods; wooded swamps and river bottoms
Status: fairly common throughout a wide range of habitats
Range: Canada to Honduras
Behavior: more likely than other owls to be heard during the day; lays 3-4 white eggs in abandoned bird or squirrel nests, tree cavities or stumps; eggs incubated mainly by female for 4 weeks; chicks leave nest at 4 weeks but aren’t able to fly yet, so they crawl out using their beak and talons and sit on branches; they fledge at 6 weeks; mainly nocturnal but are more likely than other owls to be heard during the day; easily flushed; hybridized with the spotted owl; may be a very rare breeder in SE Alaska
Diet: mainly mice; also small mammals, birds, frogs and snakes
Vocalization: rhythmic series of loud hoots; “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all”; drawn out “hoo-a,” sometimes following an ascending agitated barking; in chorus a variety of barking, cackling and gurgling notes