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Richard Silvester

Chapel Hill, NC, USA


I built a barred owl house based on the NestWatch specs and put it in my backyard. First watched a raccoon size up the box. Then a few rounds of squirrels. Pretty exciting to then see barred owls investigate the box periodically in early morning hours. Then one day I saw “Beatrice” the barred owl looking out of the nest in the middle of day. She stayed continuously in the nest for over a months with regular food deliveries from “Barry”. Soon after that we noticed Beatrice leave the nest for brief moments maybe for a bit of reprieve or to help with hunting for the growing babies. I happened to be there to take video of the first fledge and of that fledgling climbing a nearby tree to safety. Once they both fledged it became difficult to find them but once a day I would seek them out and typically could find and photograph at least one fledgling and a parent. One highlight for me was a couple weeks after fledge when I found the two babies together one a single branch. Before my eyes I witnessed for the first time one successfully fly to another treetop and the sibling immediately follow. Another highlight was watching a parent deliver a short tailed shrew to a fledgling. I sent that picture to a local biologist for confirmation of the schrew identification. Fascinating stuff.


Breeding birds

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Backyard Barred Owls

Beatrice the barred owl

4 responses to “Backyard Barred Owls”

  1. Paula says:

    Wonderful photos and great story.

    • Scott says:

      Thank you, it was a joy to watch, although sometimes I wondered who is watching who! Because the nest box was in out backyard and Beatrice kept her eyes on us through our windows nonstop as a precaution- or maybe to watch the reality show that is my family haha.

  2. Caleb Koser says:


    • Scott says:

      I’m still in disbelief they moved in and successfully raised two youngsters. For a couple years our row of neighbors could hear barred owls but never got any sightings of the elusive creatures. Saw this website and decided to try to build the box and after a couple years they moved in. Amazing.

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