We are very lucky to have a lot of wildlife that visits our yard, including a family of barred owls. The family includes a male, female and a almost fully-grown youngster. For the past two weeks, they've been spending evenings hunting in your yard and around the pond. Most nights they hang out in the trees just outside our living room window.
I've been trying to get a good picture of all three owls for awhile now, but they are most active right around dusk and after sunset, so although we can see them from the window, I can't get a good photo. In this picture, though, someone showed up a little early - around 7:00 pm, so I was able to get a picture.
Barred owls are very vocal, and they have several different calls. The most common sounds like, "Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all", or "hoo-hoo-to-hoo, hoo-hoo-to-hoo-aw." They also make a lot of other noises and calls, which the Cornell Lab of Ornithology characterizes as a "raucous jumble of cackles, hoots, caws, and gurgles." To hear their familiar evening call mixed in with a few cackles and caws, go here and click on "listen to sounds of this species."
Every night, we listen to the owls and watch them swoop around catching prey. I believe the adults are still teaching the youngster how to hunt, because just a few nights ago I watched one owl feed another. My guess is that the youngster still can't always catch his/her own food, so the adults still need to share what they catch.
Now, if only one of them would catch a few more of the rabbits that have eaten most of my beans!
Odie, a recovered barred owl with eyesight problems living at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center