During the past century, Barred Owls (Strix varia) expanded their range from forests east of the Great Plains to forests throughout most of central and western North America. Here in Part I, I map more than 12,500 records of Barred Owls in their expanded range from the earliest records to the present, draw the species' distribution in its expanded range and infer the general timing and flow of the range expansion. Evidently, Barred Owls originally traveled across the northern Great Plains via the forested riparian corridors of the Missouri, Yellowstone and Musselshell rivers into east-central Montana by 1873. From there, they accessed western forests in southwestern Montana (1909), moved to northwestern Montana (1922) and then expanded their range in two general directions. They moved north and east to northern Alberta (1934) and Saskatchewan (1948) where they apparently encountered other Barred Owls coming westward from Manitoba. They also moved north to northern British Columbia (1943), southeastern Alaska (1967) and Northwest Territories (1977), and west and south to Washington (1965), Idaho (1968), Oregon (1972) and California (1976). In Part II (Livezey, in press), I explore what prevented Barred Owls from expanding their range westward during recent millennia and what allowed them to do so during the past century.
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