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Barred Owl Calls

Barred owls are large brown owls with white stripes which are common in Iowa. This audio contains various calls during mating season. Their calls are often heard at dusk and through the night due to owl nocturnal behavior.

Iowa City, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • Is this just one owl or more? Do you think they are the same kind of owl? Do you think they are male or female?
  • What do you think the different sounds might mean? 
  • What do you think makes owls successful or unsuccessful in finding a mate? Do you think they all find mates? 
  • What other animal communications are you familiar with and what role do you think they serve? 
  • What other forms of communication do animals use besides vocalizing?

Classroom Suggestions

  • Students can brainstorm the reasons for the different sounds of owls. 
  • Students could use the resources below to investigate whether all owls exhibit the same behaviors and whether similar behaviors exist in other animals. Groups could choose or be assigned certain animals to research and report on behaviors. 
  • The Mating/Animal Communication game in the resources below is a great kinesthetic activity for showing that communication and mating behaviors can take a wide variety of forms. This game should help students to generalize the idea that a variety of behaviors affect the possibility of reproduction.

Related Resources

Iowa Core Alignment

Life Science
Disciplinary Core Idea
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Credit Info

Submitted by Jennifer Bliss

Photo Credit: Flickr: Jessica Bolser/USFWS. “We spotted this barred owl at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. This species begins breeding in the winter, and often nests in tree cavities in mature forests.”


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