Barred owls, a nocturnal bird of prey, live in Michigan year-round and hunt for small prey such as small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and invertebrates. Their notorious “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” call can be heard in dense mixed forests, often near water. They don’t stray far from their territory at all, but may move to a new section if their main predator, the great horned owl, moves in.
Barred owls in eastern North America range from Canada south to Florida. Barred owls have also expanded their range into parts of northwestern U.S. forests in the last century due to fire suppression and tree plantings throughout the Great Plains. Barred owls are now competing and displacing the smaller, near threatened spotted owl in the northwest.
Sarett’s resident barred owl, named Cookie, was injured in the Three Oaks, MI area in 2016 and suffered a muscle injury to her wing, making her non-releasable back to the wild due to flight difficulties.
Cookie is not on public display, but she visits the main Nature Center building for programs with the naturalists and teaches the public about her amazing species!
Life Span: Average 10 years in the wild, up to 20 in captivity
Size: 3.25-3.6 foot wingspan, 1-1.6 feet tall
Food Habits: Carnivore