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Barred Owl Parents Providing Fledglings With Food

6-2-17 barred owls 327

Young Barred Owls are fed from the time they hatch (four to six weeks old) until late summer or early fall, months after they have fledged and long after they are capable of flight. When first out of the nest, the fledglings cannot fly, and thus are totally dependent upon their parents’ continued delivery of prey. The fledged young initially stay near one another and the nest site. The parents continue to feed them, and as the young become more mobile they slowly move away from the nest tree. Flight is attempted between the ages of 12 and 15 weeks. The first attempts are, as you would imagine, rather awkward, but as their wings strengthen, the young owls’ flying skills improve. Even so, the parents continue to feed them through the summer and often into the fall, when prey deliveries slow down and eventually cease, forcing the young to disperse. (Photo: Recently-fledged Barred Owl chick eyeing the Flying Squirrel its parent is delivering.)

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5 responses

  1. Lynda Chandler

    T’m fascinated by your (almost) daily additions. Now I wonder if it is a young owl whose wail I hear when it is asking for parent to deliver the next meal. I live next to forested conservation land and deal daily with marauders who also are looking for their next meal — – in my case, a doe who drops by almost daily to check on tasty floral additions, rabbits (who multiply too quickly ) and yesterday a groundhog, who must be responsible for enjoying all the leaves (but not the buds) of my newly planted yellow daisies! Back to the drawing board (aka a list of plants that are uninteresting to animals!)

    June 6, 2017 at 7:06 am

  2. Phil Fitzpatrick

    Good morning, Mary.

    I think you meant from the time they fledge.

    Best wishes, Phil

    Sent from my iPad


    June 6, 2017 at 7:12 am

    • Yes, that would be quite a trick to hatch and be four weeks old! Thanks, Phil!

      June 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm

  3. Alice Pratt

    What a great photo! “I thought you said we were going to have a bunny for lunch, OK, that looks good, too…thanks!”

    June 6, 2017 at 7:19 am

  4. Pat

    Last July I had a young barred owl begging outside my window for much of the night. Their “wheeze” cry can get really annoying, but it was fun to see the parent show up (even if it was too dark to see much more than a shadowy form). By that time of year, it was hard to tell the young from the adults in terms of their appearance.

    June 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm

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