Barred Owls are everywhere in the NYC area. NYBG has one - maybe two. Central Park-three, Bartow Pell- one or two, Pelham Bay Park-two.
Why the steady stream of Barred Owls? Barred owls are actually native to the area but tend to remain elusive as deep forest dwellers. Even though they are late afternoon hunters they tend to shy away from any intrusion into their roosting areas. Unlike the Great Horned Owl a Barred owl will fly away if Blue Jays or Crows are mobbing it.
They are quite formidable hunters- even attacking and eating long earred owls. Their diet consists of mammals, rodents, amphibians, birds and large insects.
A somber owl with haunting eyes the Barred owl is cousin- or the East coast equivalent of the Spotted Owl. The old growth forests in California are home to the very elusive Spotted owl. Lucky for us the Barred ow isl shy but not impossible to see. They prefer lowland, swampy areas with open grass fields. They often roost in thickets or pines.
Once you have gazed into the dark eyes of this owl you will not soon forget its beauty.