This is not a common owl in New Jersey, but occurs rather locally throughout the state. Its status is officially listed as “threatened” (may become endangered if conditions surrounding the species begin or continue to deteriorate). Barred Owls are birds of dense wooded swamps and deep forests. Woodlands which border lakes, streams, marshes, or swamps are favored. The woods may be deciduous or coniferous, or mixed. They are sedentary owls and permanent residents in New Jersey.
Barred Owls almost always nest in hollow trees. They are large owls and require large cavities in which to breed. The decreasing number of such natural sites, plus the very specialized habitat requirements of this bird, have caused its numbers to diminish drastically.
Historically, most artificial nest boxes for raptors have been built for Barn Owls, Screech Owls and Kestrels. To my knowledge, very few nest sites have ever been provided for Barred Owls. It may not be possible to expand the distribution of this species to any great extent, because of its habitat requirements, but supplying boxes in areas where these owls do exist could be highly beneficial in maintaining or even increasing their populations. It would be a worthwhile effort on our part to assist this beleaguered bird in any way we can.