Barred Owls feed on a wide variety of prey including rodents, squirrels, rabbits, opossums, birds, small fish, turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards, crayfish, scorpions, and insects! A Barred Owl will dive on prey from a perch.
Their only natural enemy is the larger Great Horned Owl.
Barred Owls were not always here in California. Originally in the eastern United States, they made their way over to the West Coast. They were first detected in the state in the late 1960s and have since thrived. Their competition, the native Spotted Owl, are very similar in appearance but the Barred Owls are much more aggressive and very easily take over their territory.
Our resident Barred Owl, Houston, arrived at Houston Zoo in 1998 with a wing injury. He was transferred to Lindsay Wildlife in 1999 and has been an ambassador ever since.
Houston is one of our more popular raptor ambassadors due to his calm demeanor and his intense gaze. Every so often he will grace us with that deep hooting call, which sounds very much like “who cooks for you!”.