Voices: Barred Owl

I get a lot of phone calls and emails and letters from people who woke
up in the middle of the night thinking something terrible was invading their
campground when they suddenly were hearing Barred Owls. They’re often doing that because they’re
hearing another pair or individual Barred Owl on an established territory. And that’s when the pair starts really
revving up and making those territorial calls. One night I was being totally quiet, just
walking along this road and in flew two Barred Owls. There was a full moon behind them, and you could actually see their eyes as they
were calling. And it was just magical.

100 comments

  1. I heard this call last night for the first time ever. I freaked out at first because I didn't know what I heard but knew it had to be an owl but it was so unusual. We are very fortunate to have these owls live near us and visit every few days. Very shy but very majestic! Thanks for the upload.

  2. HA hA! Would never have thought to hear this sound in the City of Raleigh, NC, But yes, 30 minutes ago sitting on my back porch, (5 am) out in the woods it greeted me and my terrified cat. i only wish i could have seen it! What an amazing sound Thank you for this.

  3. This is it exactly! This is what it sounds like in my LIVING ROOM one or two nights a week (it seems)! They're LOUD (but it's cool, and I enjoy it). I live in the suburbs. I think there are two reasons I get this so loudly and so often: 1) I have two monster red gum trees — easily the biggest trees in the neighborhood. 2) My next door neighbor has a black plastic owl mounted to her porch canopy. I think her idea was to keep squirrels out of her yard, but maybe the REAL owls are trying to chase off the plastic owl.

  4. The first time I heard the Barred Owl, I thought it was a noisy party in our state park.  I was about to head for the vehicle when I realized my mistake.  I love them.  🙂

  5. Love Barred owls myself. Right now they are my favorite kind of owl, not only for the sounds, but just their big black eyes. Such pretty birds.

  6. We have a lot of these types of owls where I live. When I walk my dog at night I listen to them, mostly territorial calls.

  7. OH WOW!! I was trying to find bird sounds of a particular call, but this is totally not it. I HAVE absolutely heard this many a night out here! lol I thought it might be some other kind of mammal. LOL How cool to accidentally find the answer to a mystery I wasn't at this time trying to solve. 🙂 And it's good to know it's a barred owl and not something that is likely to attack us (it gets pretty dark and wild sounding out yonder at times). Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

  8. Absolutely beautiful vocals. My favorite owl of all. Ive heard these beautiful vocalizations carry on for hours here in West Tenn. in our wetlands surrounding Forked Deer River. Thank you for the video.

  9. My boyfriend has a pair that nest in his back yard and they call all the time, and the fledglings beg quite often and its amazing.

  10. the one call i never find a recording of is that blood curdling shriek they sometimes do before they start the hooting. Always scares the crap out of me when they do it suddenly right overhead, then the hooting starts and you're like oh it's just a Barred owl LOL

  11. My wife and I were woken up about 3AM at Standing Indian Campground. I thought they were owls but when so many stared calling I wasn't sure until I head your recording. That's was exactly what we heard. Thanks for putting this on you tube.

  12. I have a resident pair of barred owls that live outside my home. I love listening to them and every great once in awhile I'm gifted with a visit out at the frog pond.

  13. Sorry to hear that these are territorial calls. I like to lie in bed and picture them they're laughing and having fun out there, instead of doing owls' work.

  14. I heard one of these things when I was walking on a trail near my house. It was around dusk. There's some thick woods to the right of the trail with a bunch of streams. It was pretty loud so I thought it had to be close. I tried to find it but I couldnt.

  15. Does anyone know if a Barred Owl would eat a stray cat? I have been feeding a stray, but i worry about the cat because a barred owl lives behind my house in the pine trees. Thanks.

  16. With 2 Barred Owls it is hard to hear, but one owl calls " Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" quite plainly. I can pick it up in parts of the duet, but it is making my dog go nuts. He doesn't mind the Great Horned Owl calls haha

  17. You may not believe this but I was just talking to one in Johnston county NC. I was just imitating the sound he was making.

  18. We have a lot of Barred Owls living in our area and I sometimes here them at night outside my bedroom window where there are large trees. I have also heard them during the day which I think is unusual. I have several pics of baby Owls and one when it still has its white feathers. Love em.
    Janet

  19. We must have a few out back be a they sound just like this. I thought it was ravens and monkeys for a second before I did hear some hooting.

  20. Our local Barred Owl got into a yelling contest with my German Shepherds one morning. They know her call now and it perks them right up!

  21. I heard this but it was preceded by a sound like a woman screaming. can anyone explain this, it happened twice this week?

  22. We used to live on a river when my son was young. It was so hot in his room, I asked him why he had his windows shut, and he said ,"There are too many horror noises outside!"

  23. I actually heard Barred Owls about a month ago in Eastern WV. Every night I heard their "who cooks for you, who cooks for you all" call. it was amazing.

  24. I always hear two of them. One really close (Tonight the woods in my backyard) He or she makes that lovely secession of hoots ending in the one that makes me think of a purr and the other one clearly a good distance away responds with the same secession of hoots. I assumed they were "Hunting" and always imagined they were telling/asking the other one if they caught anything yet. It is late July here in southern Maine so I assume they are just establishing/reminding other Owls of their territory? I would love to actualy see one but I only ever hear them. 🙁

  25. i've had a barred owl that sits in some trees in my yard that constantly talks all night every night for the past year now, it's made some strange noises before but i just recently heard this specific noise outside my window at 3am and it scared the mess out of me, i thought i had some alien or something out there but it turns out it was just my lil owl buddy ??? i had no idea they could make these kind of noises?? owls are so cool man

  26. I've got several owls in my audio but i have one call that is interesting it sounds like Bruce Lee fighting in middle of woods, i have not been able to match up the sounds yet

  27. Thank you, Laura! This helped me identify the monster that was going to attack and kill me last night. Turns out it's 16" tall and a pound in weight. Not as scary as it sounded at 4:00am. Mine ended each sequence with a growl/scream that sounded like a cougar. Very cool, but (to my untrained ear) completely confusing. Nice to know my Norway rat problem in my backyard is being worked on.

  28. It's such an incredible and unique call, I'm perplexed by it everytime I hear it. Unfortunately, I only get Barn and Tawny Owls where I live in England.

  29. Great Video. I have been hearing Barred Owls in my back yard for the last few weeks. There must be a few pairs; they get quite loud at 2 in the morning. North East Ohio, Ashtabula County.

  30. Thanks for the info. Heard one recently outside my bathroom window. Made me laugh, cuz it sounded like something laughing/giggling. I immediately Had to figure out what it was…my first guess was Waaay off. i thought raccoon 😂

  31. me and a friend were fishing on the ocklawaha river and the motor conked out and we had to paddle for it for hours after dark. I have heard these birds amany a time in my life but never like this night. It sounded like there were hundreds of them once they got started.

  32. Wow I too heard this last week in the middle of the night. I thought it was a pack of coyotes it sounded so wild and weird.

  33. The barred owl is my favorite owl. When we go hiking, we hear my friend, "Paul" talking up a storm to his friends in the woods. Best song ever! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  34. One evening a few weeks back, I was fishing on a local Florida river. While I was reeling in a plastic bass worm across the ground, one silently flew down out of the trees from the opposite bank and landed on my lure. I watched it pick it up and then toss it back down as if it was the most disgusting thing it ever touched. After that it flew off back into its hidden perch. That would have not been a good hook removal, but It was an amazing and frightening experience.

  35. Have you seen a Barred Owl expel a pellet? Also some other Barred Owl Sound
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w7lGllVrog

  36. One of these guys is in the woods behind my house, freaking me out while I’m trying to sleep 😂

  37. I love to hear them it's just sooooo amazingly cool how far out the sounds they do go and such beautiful birds!!! Just love to listen to them and sometimes I join in and immitat the calls and the answer it's soooo cool!!!

  38. thank you for your time and knowledge. the first time I heard this I was outside late at night by myself in a very secluded wooded area close to my house. it totally freaked me out because I knew the sound was originally a bit away from me but came closer and closer until it was in the trees directly over my head. I thought it was a group of wild monkeys coming to attack me. I did see the shadows of these raptors but it seemed too large.

  39. I heard this in 1997 on a camp outside of Vancouver B.C. Being 12 years old at the time I didn’t know what to think.

  40. I was a Wildlife Tech and worked with Owls they are very smart they will try to scare you out of an Area Lol They are very aggressive, but adorable!

  41. And there huge. We have one I've been fortunate enough to see in flight. I wouldn't be surprised if his wingspan was close to 4 feet

  42. Thank you Laura for explaining this along with the sound bite. It really helped put me at ease, since I was thinking I had a pack of monkeys in my suburban central NC backyard.

  43. Wow! Awesome vocalizations! Here is one on a branch just sitting hunting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IMAH24E1-4

  44. I picked one of these up yesterday..limping..and the animal hospital took it in. It was quiet and tame..but seemed to know I was there to help it. It fell asleep while being held. I hope it survives and they bring it back to my neighborhood.

  45. I live in a log cabin in the woods on the coast of Maine. I have one large pond on my west side and two smaller ones on the east with a swampy spruce forest to my north in which there is a large field. The 80 acres to my north is owned by a land trust. I recently lost my black lab and have nobody to give my tasty leftovers. I have a huge spruce stump just on the edge of the woods and began putting a few scraps on it at the edge of dark because I wanted to encourage the foxes to come at night as I have a terrible mole population under the snow in my yard. The barred owls know the routine and show up just before dark! I only help them during the winter and can now throw a piece of chicken or steak from my porch and the barred owl will grab it within seconds! He is the king of the raptors in my neck of the woods (besides the bald eagles) and have watched (and captured on video) him attacking a red tailed hawk that had just killed a mallard on the ice on my pond. Such a fierce, dynamic and regal bird! Wish I could post the pics! They're quality is worthy of National Geographic.

  46. Thank you! I came looking on YouTube because I heard this sound this morning and I had no idea what it was, other than a type of owl. Amazing sounds!

  47. I get woken up by these guys now and then. It's amazing how powerful their calls are. If it's not them, it's coyotes. Ahh Rural Texas.

  48. "Discovered" these owls when we moved near Grand Rapids, MI. When we play these sounds on our cell phones, we will oftentimes get several of these owls come in to check it out.

  49. I live in southeast Kansas i love when i get 3 or 4 of these in trees close to my house talking back and forth

  50. They're also the most adorable! Yes def scarey when they bombard with territorial calls!! Used to work w spotted owls

  51. I was camping in the middle of nowhere and some barred owls woke me up. It freaked me out and to top it all it was crazy foggy outside 🙂

  52. I can see someone who doesnt know calls thinking that is other worldly. 😮 Screech owls are fun to listen to also.

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