Barred Owl Experience

Top Photo: Circle marks spot of barred owl nest.

Barred owls are year-round residents here at the museum. They’re not always seen, but they’re always here.

The area circled in above picture. Broken off stump, open from top.

Some years the owls are spotted on a regular basis, but most years their presence is only realized though an occasional, resonate “Who cooks for you-all” or even just a single “you-all” coming from somewhere back in the woods near the stream that runs through our campus and eventually into Ellerbe Creek.

This year, we have an active nest to point to when answering the question “Do barred owls live on the museum property?”

Adult perched on top of snag.

At first it looked as though the owls (there were two back there in the woods) were nest hunting, looking for a suitable nest site. Then it became clear they had already chosen a dead snag in the woods behind the cafe.

It appeared as though there were eggs in the nest as one of the adults flew in and hopped down into the opening in the top of the tree.

Expressing interest in nest site?
At this point it became evident there was already something in the “nest.”
It was a tight squeeze as the tail and undertail converts burst out of the seams.

It now became obvious there were young in the nest. It appeared as though there were two nestlings. Barred owls can lay from 1 to 5 eggs, but 2 is typical here in North Carolina. It looks as if this is a typical nest.

Later, you could see there was already at least one nestling in the nest (white fluffy ball).
One of the nestlings pokes its head out of a crack in side of tree.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the nest to see what develops and report the results to you. In the mean time, head on down to the Secondary Overlook for the Black Bears and see if you can spot one, two, or three of the gray fox pups that have been seen hanging out on the boulders in front of the bear cave.

One of three gray fox pups in black bear enclosure.

Have fun!

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