What Do Barred Owls Eat? All You Need To Know

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  • Post last modified:February 24, 2023

Barred Owl Eating insect

What Do Barred Owls Eat?

Barred owls are carnivorous birds that eat small animals like rodents, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. Their diet can change depending on the availability of prey in their environment and the season.

Barred owls are opportunistic hunters who will also prey on larger animals such as rabbits and squirrels. They hunt primarily at night and rely on their acute hearing and vision to locate prey.

List of Barred Owls’s Favorite Diet

Some common prey items for barred owls include:

  • Mice
  • Voles
  • Shrews
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Birds (such as sparrows, jays, and doves)
  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Snakes
  • Insects

What Do Baby Barred Owls Eat?

Baby barred owls, also known as owlets, grow up eating insects and other small invertebrates. Their diet expands as they grow to include small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Owllets are initially fed a diet of regurgitated food from their parents, which includes insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. Their parents begin bringing them larger prey items, such as rodents, small birds, and amphibians, as they grow and become more active.

The diet of baby barred owls is also determined by the availability of prey in their environment and can vary depending on the season.

The parents will hunt and bring food back to the nest for the owlets to eat, and as the young owls grow older and more independent, they will begin to hunt for themselves.

Barred Owl Eating Snake

What Do Barred Owls Eat In The Winter?

Barred owls eat a variety of prey in the winter, depending on what is available in their habitat. During the winter, some of the most common prey items for barred owls include:

  • Rodents such as mice, voles, and rats
  • Rabbits and hares
  • Squirrels
  • Birds such as grouse, quail, and woodpeckers
  • Fish, especially in areas with open water
  • Crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates, where available

Do Barred Owls Eat Mice?

Yes! Barred owls do consume mice and other small rodents. Mice are a common prey item for barred owls, and they have been observed hunting them on a regular basis. 

Barred Owl perching

Do Barred Owls Eat Rat?

Yes, barred owls do consume rats. In fact, rats are a common prey item for barred owls, particularly in areas where they are plentiful. Barred owls consume a wide range of small mammals, including mice, voles, shrews, squirrels, rabbits, and rats.

Do Barred Owls Eat Rabbits?

Rabbits are indeed eaten by barred owls. Rabbits are a common prey item for barred owls, particularly in areas where they are plentiful.

During the winter months, when other prey may be scarce, barred owls rely heavily on rabbits for food. They are also an important food source for young barred owls, who are fed by their parents a diet of small mammals and other prey.

13 Fun Facts About Owls You Should Know

Do Barred Owls Eat Birds?

Yes, barred owls do consume birds. While small mammals such as mice and shrews comprise the majority of a barred owl’s diet, when given the opportunity, they will also prey on birds. Birds that barred owls have been observed eating include sparrows, jays, doves, quail, grouse, and woodpeckers.

Barred owls are skilled hunters, capable of flying silently through the trees to catch their prey off guard. They can also fly through the dense forest and catch birds on the wing.

While birds are not the primary food source for barred owls, they are an important part of their diet and can account for a significant portion of their food during certain seasons.

Do Barred Owls Eat Squirrels?

Yes, squirrels are eaten by barred owls. Squirrels are a common prey item for barred owls, especially in densely populated areas. During the fall months, when barred owls are storing food for the winter, squirrels are an especially important food source.

Barred owls will hunt squirrels on the ground or in the trees, surprising their prey with their stealth and agility. They are skilled hunters, catching squirrels even as they move quickly through the trees.

Do Barred Owls Eat Fish?

While barred owls are best known for eating small mammals and birds, they have also been observed eating fish on occasion. Although fish are not a common prey item for barred owls, they may hunt them in areas where they are plentiful.

Barred owls typically perch near the water’s edge and wait for a fish to surface when hunting. They’ll then swoop down and grab the fish with their talons, carrying it away to a nearby perch to eat.

What Eats Barred Owls?

Because of their size and aggressive nature, barred owls have few natural predators. A few animals, however, may prey on barred owls or their eggs and young.

  • Great horned owls: Great horned owls are larger and more powerful than barred owls and will occasionally prey on adult barred owls. They may also compete for food and nesting sites with barred owls.
  • Eagles: Bald and golden eagles are large raptors that may prey on adult barred owls in times of scarcity.
  • Coyotes: Coyotes have been observed preying on barred owl eggs and nestlings. They may also scavenge on the carcasses of dead or injured adult barred owls.
  • Bobcats: Bobcats are small carnivores that prey on barred owl eggs and young.
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