An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide –

Juvenile Barred Owls Mastering Flight

barred owl-fractured wing 062Typically Barred Owls in northern New England hatch in May and fledge, or leave their nest, in June at approximately four to five weeks of age. Unlike most young birds, Barred Owl nestlings leave their nest before they can fly. They initially perch on the rim of the nest and then climb to a branch on the nest tree, eventually dropping to the ground and climbing a nearby leaning tree to perch. The parents feed their young from the time they hatch until late summer or early fall. The fledglings begin short flights at approximately 10 weeks of age, attaining longer flights by 12 weeks. The pictured Barred Owl may have been mastering flight when it fractured a wing and ended up on the ground, soaking wet and very vulnerable to predation. (Thanks to Bob Moyer for photo op and Vermont Institute of Natural Science’s Wildlife Rehab staff for setting wing.)

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to and click on the yellow “donate” button.

9 responses

  1. Beautiful.

    September 3, 2014 at 11:54 am

  2. Mary,

    Is that why the barred owls are so active right now? They’re keeping me awake at night. Neighbors have said that they, too, are hearing the owls a lot recently.

    And I am so grateful for VINS!


    September 3, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    • My guess is you’re right, Maria. Juveniles feeling their oats!

      September 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm

  3. I hear the barred owls all around us, but I also hear a piercing shrieking noise in the night. Is that the fledglings? It’s not quite the sound of the fledgling begging call on the Cornell site. What else would be calling at night in Hartland woods?

    September 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    • Hard to say, Sarah. There are many night sounds, and barred owls do have quite a repertoire, but I wouldn’t describe any of the noises I’ve heard them make as “piercing shrieking noise.” Could it be a mammal of some sort? Hare being eaten, porcupines fighting — the list goes on and on!

      September 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

  4. Polly Forcier

    Mary, Are you having trouble with your email? Mine was only sending partial messages and I had the whole outlook express replaced after quite a few hours of trying to fix it. Polly

    September 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    • I’m not having any trouble, Polly…sorry for yours!

      September 3, 2014 at 3:44 pm

  5. Poor thing! I am so thankful for VINS and all they do for our injured wildlife, especially owls.

    September 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

  6. Philip Bonafide

    Great blog…Max will love this one!

    Sent from my iPad


    September 5, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s