Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Scarlett is an adult female Barred Owl. Barred owls are common in Northern Virginia. They often hunt along roads, looking for the small mammals that are drawn there by trash discarded along the roadsides. Since they hunt at night, drivers have little warning before an owl appears in their headlights and then it's too late. Like most owls that come into rehabilitation, Scarlett was hit by a car and suffered multiple injuries. She was well cared for by Owl Moon Raptor Center but the growth plate in her beak was permanently damaged. Her beak will never grow straight and without frequent trimming she would be unable to eat. In all other ways she is a strong, healthy owl. In captivity, we can trim Scarlett's beak for her. It's painless and keeps her looking beautiful!
Scarlett joined the Secret Garden flock on December 18, 2016. She is the only bird where we are certain of the gender. When she was injured, she had a brood patch - a bare patch of skin on her breast with no feathers. She would have used that bare patch to keep her eggs and nestlings warm. Only female owls have brood patches. So we know she is female and, sadly, we know she had eggs or nestlings when she was injured.
Scarlett is very vocal. She frequently calls to the wild barred owls around the Secret Garden and they respond. But we can always recognize Scarlett's voice. She has a beautiful vibrato at the end of her calls!