Sharon Bagozzi, Carroll Electric Cooperative
Q. Chip: I am sending you a picture of an owl my husband and son saw on Jan. 9, 2021. I think it is a barred owl. It was eating a hawk it had caught. I think we also have a great horned owl in our area. I don’t do things on a computer, so I thought maybe you could forward my information to Blake Mathys for his wintering-owl study mentioned in the January 2021 issue of Ohio Cooperative Living.
A. Hi, Sharon. As you requested, I forwarded your owl information to Blake Mathys. And yes, as you suspected, the owl in the picture you sent is a barred owl. The bird gets its name from the barred feathering on its chest. It’s unusual that the owl was eating a hawk — another bird of prey — but it does happen occasionally that predatory birds attack one another, especially during winter when their more typical prey species become scarce.
In your photo, the barred owl spreading it wings and tail to cover its catch is typical of birds of prey, as they will attempt to hide their kill from other animals that might try to take it. No doubt the owl believed your husband and son to be a threat.