As Erika and I walked through the pine forest in the Carleton College Arboretum, I commented, "I wonder why we don't see owls in this forest. It seems perfect." No sooner were the words out of my mouth, when spied an owl-like lump high in one of the trees. A Great Horned Owl sat there, facing away from us. Nevertheless, it did not take long for it to be alert to our presence. The owl then did a curious thing. It ran along the branch (see lower photo), presumably to get to a more convenient take-off location. And off it flew.
Great Horned Owls are bad news for resident Barred Owls. According to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, the Great Horned Owl, which prefers large tracts of territory, "is the most serious predatory threat to the Barred Owl. Although they often live in the same areas, the Barred Owl will avoid parts of its territory occupied by a Great Horned Owl." But it is a rough world out there, since Barred Owls, in turn, often prey on Northern Saw-whet Owls.