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It sunny and warming up today. We will have a few nice days now until a strong cold front cools us off (a lot) about Monday. Today, at Murray, I caught this Carolina Wren in a Black Locust tree in the early morning. One of my favorite birds !

In summer it can seem that every patch of woods in the eastern United States rings with the rolling song of the Carolina Wren. This shy bird can be hard to see, but it delivers an amazing number of decibels for its size. Follow its teakettle-teakettle! and other piercing exclamations through backyard or forest, and you may be rewarded with glimpses of this bird’s rich cinnamon plumage, white eyebrow stripe, and long, upward-cocked tail. This hardy bird has been wintering farther and farther north in recent decades.

  • Size & Shape

    The Carolina Wren is a small but chunky bird with a round body and a long tail that it often cocks upward. The head is large with very little neck, and the distinctive bill marks it as a wren: long, slender, and downcurved.

  • Color Pattern

    Both males and females are a bright, unpatterned reddish-brown above and warm buffy-orange below, with a long white eyebrow stripe, dark bill, and white chin and throat.

  • Behavior

    The Carolina Wren creeps around vegetated areas and scoots up and down tree trunks in search of insects and fruit. It explores yards, garages, and woodpiles, sometimes nesting there. This wren often cocks its tail upward while foraging and holds it down when singing. Carolina Wrens defend their territories with constant singing; they aggressively scold and chase off intruders.

  • Habitat

    Look—or listen—for Carolina Wrens singing or calling from dense vegetation in wooded areas, especially in forest ravines and neighborhoods. These birds love to move low through tangled understory; they frequent backyard brush piles and areas choked with vines and bushes.

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Taken with my light outfit; Canon 50D and a Canon 400L f/5.6:

This Barred Owl was sound asleep and peaceful this morning next to the Little Buffalo River near Parthenon. I sacred him off a cold weather roost and into a Hackberry Tree next to the river, got shots of him in 2 locations. I love listen9ing to these owls at this time of the year when mating begins; especially when they begin a group call. They sound like they are laughing, choking, singing, and they seem to feed on each others calls. The Barred Owl’s hooting call, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” is a classic sound of old forests and treed swamps. But this attractive owl, with soulful brown eyes and brown-and-white-striped plumage, can also pass completely unnoticed as it flies noiselessly through the dense canopy or snoozes on a tree limb. Originally a bird of the east, during the twentieth century it spread through the Pacific Northwest and southward into California.

  • Size & Shape

    Barred Owls are large, stocky owls with rounded heads, no ear tufts, and medium length, rounded tails.

  • Color Pattern

    Barred Owls are mottled brown and white overall, with dark brown, almost black, eyes. The underparts are mostly marked with vertical brown bars on a white background, while the upper breast is crossed with horizontal brown bars. The wings and tail are barred brown and white.

  • Behavior

    Barred Owls roost quietly in forest trees during the day, though they can occasionally be heard calling in daylight hours. At night they hunt small animals, especially rodents, and give an instantly recognizable “Who cooks for you?” call.

  • Habitat

    Barred Owls live in large, mature forests made up of both deciduous trees and evergreens, often near water. They nest in tree cavities. In the Northwest, Barred Owls have moved into old-growth coniferous forest, where they compete with the threatened Spotted Owl.

Cool Facts

  • The Great Horned Owl is the most serious predatory threat to the Barred Owl. Although the two species often live in the same areas, a Barred Owl will move to another part of its territory when a Great Horned Owl is nearby.
  • Pleistocene fossils of Barred Owls, at least 11,000 years old, have been dug up in Florida, Tennessee, and Ontario.
  • Barred Owls don’t migrate, and they don’t even move around very much. Of 158 birds that were banded and then found later, none had moved farther than 6 miles away.
  • Despite their generally sedentary nature, Barred Owls have recently expanded their range into the Pacific Northwest. There, they are displacing and hybridizing with Spotted Owls—their slightly smaller, less aggressive cousins—which are already threatened from habitat loss.
  • Young Barred Owls can climb trees by grasping the bark with their bill and talons, flapping their wings, and walking their way up the trunk.
  • The oldest Barred Owl on record was at least 24 years old.

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