Many people have talked to us about seeing or hearing Barred Owls in strange places this winter. We have seen pictures from sign posts, road sides and even porches and decks. Why are these normally secretive predators making themselves so obvious this year? The easy answer would be that last year was a good reproductive year for these birds. But this does not explain why they have been spotted readily this winter.
If bird rehabilitator Tom Ricardi’s theory is correct, a grey squirrel die off due to a lack of acorns is the cause. Most of the birds he has picked up are starving or being hit by cards. When food is scarce in the woods these birds often come to the edges of roads to hunt. This would explain all of the photos we have seen and all the injured birds Tom has picked up. The good news is that given the number of birds being seen we have a healthy, thriving Barred Owl population in the valley. Remember “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all…” That is their call.