Birds of Ijams
Ijams Nature Center's varied habitats provide ample space for a plethora of birds! The river brings waterbirds, forests are home for warblers and other songbirds, and woody thickets hide sparrows. Learn more about Ijams' key birds how to look for them and the other species seen at Ijams using these resources.
A barred owl is mottled brown and white overall, with dark brown, almost black, eyes. The underparts are mostly marked with vertical brown bars on a white background, while the upper breast is crossed with horizontal brown bars, which give this bird its name. The wings and tail are barred brown and white. It lacks the ear tufts of the great horned owl.
Barred owls live in large, mature forests made up of both deciduous trees and evergreens, often near water. They nest in tree cavities or abandoned platform nests and do little or nothing to change an existing nesting area. Barred owls may add lichen, fresh green conifer sprigs, or feathers to a stick platform nest and may flatten or remove the top of an old squirrel nest. At night, they hunt small animals, especially rodents, and have an instantly recognizable “Who cooks for you?” call.
The best places to see them at Ijams are around the Lotus Pond at the base of North Cove Trail or along the Discovery Trails near the Miller Building. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon, and can be spotted at any time. Young owls are the easiest to see when they begin to leave the nest in early summer.
Having barred owls at Ijams indicates that the forests are healthy and at a good state of maturity. These owls are important predators that keep rodent populations low, which also reduces ticks. Ijams Nature Center has a long history with barred owls. HP Ijams was building nestboxes and raising barred owl chicks on the home site in the early 20th century.