The barred owl is a medium sized owl that is native to Eastern North America and expanded its range into British Columbia over the last 70 years. The barred owl is a generalist species that can thrive in a wide variety of habitats, including old growth coniferous stands. The barred owl is a larger, more aggressive species that will compete for habitat and food with the spotted owl. There have been cases of hybridization between spotted owls and barred owls, as a spotted owl will mate with a barred owl.
The Purpose of the Barred Owl at the NSO Breeding Program
Barred and spotted owls are closely related species both physiologically and phylogenetically, as they both belong to the Strix genus. As such closely related species, we can learn a lot about the spotted owl by having the barred owls bred in captivity as well. We currently have one breeding pair of barred owls at the NSO Breeding Program that began producing eggs in 2014.