There is nothing more unmistakable than the sighting or sounds of one of our native owls here in the Ottawa area. The sight or sound of one undoubtedly sends immediate feelings of excitement and with good reason, they are a treat to behold.
One such species that is quite common here in the Ottawa area is the Barred Owl. Among the larger of the owl species native to our area, they can be tricky to identify when compared to the great gray owl. While similar in shape and size (great gray owls are slightly larger), they also shared a number of common markings that can make quick identification a challenge.
If you’ve spotted a large owl with the mottled brown streaks characteristic of these raptors, look immediately to the eyes for your answer for identification.
Our barred owls have dark brown eyes while their distant cousin gray owls sport a very distinct yellow eye colour which, given the right viewing opportunity, can make identification much easier.