Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Juvenile Barred Owls
Name: Jack M.
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 7/28/2003


Question:
Hi: We live well off the beaten path in southern NH, and have two barred owls making a ruckus for the past two days. They are close enough to see, and have become quite brazen in sitting on a fence not 20 feet from my front door. They have been "screeching", or more accurately sort of a whistle/hiss. They have been at it for two days now; the pair seems to be friendly to each other, as they roost on the same tree. I have seen one "interloper", who got into an aerial "dogfight" with the other two. I thought the activity was territorial, but there only seems to be the one pair around since the dogfight. I have not heard their regular call at all. I have heard this screech as early as 4:30 in the afternoon, and it continues most of the night, stopping for a while late evening, and resuming about 4 am. I have not witnessed activity like that described in the 10 years I have been living here. What is going on with these guys? Thank you...


Replies:
Jack,

I studied Barred Owls for two years using radio telemetry and what you have is two juveniles making all that commotion. The call describe is the juvenile call for food! The dogfight as you described was probably the two fighting over food from one of the two parents. The parents would never allow outsiders near their young at this time of the year. The juveniles have been out of their nest now for about two months depending upon what part of NH you are from. They will move around, but you may see some of this activity still taking place into September generally. I did not work in NH. Eventually the adults will chase out the youngsters just prior to the onset of the breeding season around November or so. Again this all varies depending upon the area of the country they are located. It is not always a sure thing that a breeding pair can bring up two juveniles in a single season so you have some really good (or lucky) adult birds. Late July the juveniles often act like human teenagers by giving their parents (who will generally stay out of site) real trouble in staying in one place and acting owl-like. This is surely an anthropomorphic look at what I think you observed. You may see this all over again next year for Barred Owls have been known to nest in the same areas.

Steve Sample


Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory