Jersey – Barred Owl
Jersey arrived at the World Bird Sanctuary at the age of 16 when the South Dakota organization where she was located was forced to close. Not a great deal is known about her earlier homes other than that she had been relocated at least 3-4 times. Hopefully this will be Jersey’s final relocation. At her previous location Jersey was used as a flier, but according to her records she began to display aggression toward her handlers.
Here at WBS she is used as a “walk-on” bird during education programs, and this role seems to suit her personality better. Her aggressive tendencies have abated and she seems to enjoy her new role. When she first arrived at WBS Jersey was quite overweight. Jersey was put on a healthy well-balanced owl diet and has now slimmed down to a more normal weight for her species.
Jersey is a very vocal bird and can often be heard hooting while on her perch in the weathering area. She is so vocal that her hooting frequently calls in the local wild Barred Owls
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