Species: Strix varia, Barred Owl   •   Born: 1998     •   Gender: Male   •   Disability: Human Imprint

‘Barry’ was blown from his nest as an owlet during a storm. He was too young to survive on his own so he came to the American Eagle Foundation and unfortunately became imprinted. Often you can hear him hooting as dusk approaches.

On April 30, we said a heartbreaking goodbye to our beloved barred owl, Barry. Barry developed some underlying issues that could not be identified. Although he did well with some medications, his situation was decreasing his quality of life. A decision was made by a team of  avian care staff, veterinarians, and professionals to humanely euthanize him.

Some birds have a magical way of touching the hearts of everyone they come into contact with. One only had to look at Barry to feel that magic. At the AEF barn, Barry was the origin of endless smiles and laughter. His quirky antics brought joy to not only his primary handlers, but to every member of the AEF staff. For us, Barry will be remembered for filling the barn with constant hooting, especially on cloudy days; his habit of snacking on worms when in the weathering yard; his dramatic post-mist rouses; his one of a kind “shimmies” when wet from a bath or misting; and how he ALWAYS jumped just a little every time a door closed, no matter how far away.  Barry was an amazing educational ambassador. During his 22 years of life, he educated hundreds of thousands of people about his kind and brought smiles to countless kids’ faces. Barry may not have been able to survive on his own in the wild, but we believe he truly made a difference for his species and we are certain that he helped to inspire many people to help protect and conserve owls. Saying goodbye is hard but we are thankful for the time that we had with Barry and for the impact that he made on each of our lives. We miss you Barry, and thank you for everything.


The Barred Owl is named after the barred, feathers marked with transverse bands of distinctive color, feather patterns on its chest. They can live to be 40 years old in captivity and about half that age in the wild. Barred Owls prefer large, heavily forested areas and low-lying swamps and creek beds where they can dine on mice, chipmunks, birds, and amphibians.

You can tell whether a bird hunts more during the night or during the day by the color of its eyes. The eyes of the Barred Owl are very dark, indicating they hunt almost entirely at night.




(video from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, July 22, 2018)


(Video is defaulted to “mute” … so be sure to mouse over the bottom right to turn sound on!)

Barred Owl “Lockett” from Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky.

Furthermore, Raptor Rehabilators of Kentucky goes on to say, “The Barred Owl makes more different kinds of calls than any other owl in North America. The most common call sounds like “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you allll?” Others sound like whistling, baying hounds, barking dogs, a human screaming in agony, cackling, yells and maniacal laughter.”