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Photo: Barred owl at home in the wintry woods

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Our photo of the day is all about blending in.

This beguiling barred owl photographed by Jason W. Platt blends in so beautifully with its surroundings – naturally it doesn't want to be seen by its prey. But all bets are off once it starts talking. As the Cornell Lab of Ornithology notes, "the rich baritone hooting of the Barred Owl is a characteristic sound in southern swamps, where members of a pair often will call back and forth to each other." So if you are ever walking in the woods or swamps and hear a "loud barking hoo, hoo, hoo-hoo; hoo, hoo; hoo, hooo-aw! and a variety of other barking calls and screams," you may be in the presence of a barred owl ... even if you can't quite see it.

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