Barred Life (living among owls)

barred owl black and white wing feathers fanned out over face perched on tree branch whidbey island from barred life website

Dear Sir/Madam/Inquisitive Soul,

A haven for creatures great and small, Whidbey Island harbors everything from orcas to osprey. The abundance of wildlife here can make the photographic possibilities seem overwhelming. As such, I was excited to learn there were owl habitats in the wooded acres and mixed forest surrounding my home on South Whidbey. Here the barred owl, or Strix varia, is thriving and expanding the west coast real estate of what was once considered an eastern bird. The success of the barred owl sometimes comes at the expense of other species, like the spotted owl, and it has a reputation as an aggressive bird prone to attacking people. These issues are serious and complex, deserving much discussion. Many articles have been published, and a cursory search will yield a wealth of information on barred owls…they might even turn up in your local news coverage. That being said, within the humble pages of this slight volume, filled with photographs of barred owls, I wish only to share with you some of the highlights of my experience living among them. Perhaps for a moment, maybe just a split second, they will inspire in you, brave viewer, a little bit of the wonder that is at the heart of understanding…and beauty.


Declan Travis


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