Many people adore the mystery owl. Their camouflage and nocturnal habits make them all the more intriguing since we seldom see them due to their hiding. It might also make you curious about the number of distinct species of owls that may be discovered in my area. We’ll take a look at Connecticut’s eight species of owls in this article.
8 OWLS IN CONNECTICUT
Barn owl, barred owl, eastern screech owl, great-horned owl, long-eared owl, northern saw-whet Owl, and short-eared Owl make up Connecticut’s eight species of owls.
While Connecticut is a smaller state, it has a diverse range of environments that may support owls, including forests and beaches. You may see them in wooded neighborhoods and some of them are comfortable around people. Others will have to go on a longer journey to the beach in order to view.
1. BARN OWL
- Scientific name: Tyto alba
- Length: 12.6 – 15.8 in
- Wingspan: 39.4 – 49.2 in
- Weight: 14.1 – 24.7 oz
In Connecticut, year-round barn owls may be seen. Open environments such as grasslands, fields, ranches, agricultural land, and strips of woodland are where they may be found.
Barn owls prefer to build their nests in barns, attics, and church steeples, among other man-made structures with a lot of eaves and beams. One of the ways they got their moniker was most likely this. Tree holes, caves, and cliff edges are also used as nests. During the day, Barn Owls are very secretive and seldom spotted.
They fly low over fields at dusk and during the night, using their amazing hearing to locate mice and other rodents. If you see them in low light, their huge, ghostly white face and belly can be a pretty creepy sight!
2. BARRED OWL
- Scientific name: Strix varia
- Length: 16.9 – 19.7 in
- Wingspan: 39.0 – 43.3 in
- Weight: 16.6 – 37.0 oz
The gorgeous brown and white barred owl is ubiquitous in Connecticut during the year, and may be seen at any time of day. These birds prefer to stay within a 10-mile radius and seldom travel more than a few miles.
They do not like to be in the same area as the great horned owl, despite their range frequently overlapping. Barred owl eggs, juvenile birds, and sometimes adults are all eaten by great horned owls.
Barred owls favor trees near water, especially when there are huge stretches of uninterrupted forest, and they prefer mature and mixed trees. During the day, you may see them roosting in trees. However, while hunting at night, they are most active.
Their distinctive hoot is characterized as sounding like “who cooks for you?” “Who prepares your meals?” (asked Tommy). A mated pair will sing a variety of hoots, honks, caws, and gurgles throughout the courting process.
3. EASTERN SCREECH-OWL
- Scientific name: Megascops asio
- Length: 6.3 – 9.8 in
- Wingspan: 18.9 – 24.0 in
- Weight: 4.3 – 8.6 oz
Throughout much of the eastern United States, including Connecticut, this tiny owl is seen all year.
Gray, brown, or “red” (really a reddish brown) are the three color variants of eastern screech owls. The designs on their feathers blend in well with tree bark, regardless of the color.
Their name may imply that they emit a shrilling or screaming sound, however this is not true. They make trilling noises or “whinnies,” which sound like a high-pitched horse, rather than hooting.
You may attract eastern screech owls to your yard by setting up an appropriately sized nest box. Farmland, city parks, and suburban neighborhoods are all home to these little owls. Almost anyplace with some tree cover is good for cicadas.
4. GREAT HORNED OWL
- Scientific name: Bubo virginianus
- Length: 18.1 – 24.8 in
- Wingspan: 39.8 – 57.1 in
- Weight: 32.1 – 88.2 oz
Due to their huge size, yellow eyes, and “horns” that are tufts of feathers that protrude out on either side of their head, great horned owls are one of the most prevalent and well-known owls in North America.
Forests, swamps, deserts, and urban settings such as city parks are all home to these owls. Most of them have a cool or warm brown plumage, which varies in color.
Mammalian, avian, reptile, insect, and fish are all part of the great horned owl’s diet. Their hoot is a sound that most people associate with owls, and it is frequently used in television and film.
5. LONG-EARED OWL
- Scientific name: Asio otus
- Length: 13.8 – 15.8 in (height)
- Wingspan: 35.4 – 39.4 in
- Weight: 7.8 – 15.3 oz
During the winter, long-eared owls may be found in Connecticut. Despite the fact that they are significantly less prevalent in the state than other species, you should seek them out. Pine stands or woods near grassland and pastures are their preferred habitat.
Their large yellow eyes, white V-shaped face pattern, squared face disc, and stiff feather tufts may make them look constantly surprised. Great horned owls can be distinguished from each other by their very rounded face with a white V.
When not in the breeding season, long-eared owls are mostly quiet, so you won’t frequently hear their hooting in Connecticut.
They are difficult to locate due to their exceptional camouflage and roosting behavior in thick woodlands.
6. NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL
- Scientific name: Aegolius acadicus
- Length: 7.1-8.3 inches
- Weight: 2.3-5.3 oz
- Wingspan: 16.5-18.9 inches
With a spherical head and yellow eyes, Northern saw-whet owls are petite. These owls are also famously difficult to find for a number of reasons, in addition to their tiny size.
When they’re perched motionlessly on a branch, their mottled brown plumage blends in easily to the surrounding trees. Since these owls are nocturnal, you won’t encounter them while day is bright out. They’re also naturally secretive.
Learning a northern saw-whet owl’s call and listening for it at night, particularly between January and May, is the best way to find one. They are known as “saw-whet” owls because of their unique call, which sounds like a blade being sharpened on a whetstone (too-too-too).
They prefer thick and mature woods and stay in Connecticut all year. Little mammals like mice and voles make up the majority of their diet.
7. SHORT-EARED OWL
- Scientific name: Asio flammeus
- Length: 15 in
- Wingspan: 38 in
- Weight: 12 oz
During the summer, short-eared owls are almost exclusively found in Canada and northern US states, only coming down into Connecticut during the winter. The majority of sightings for them in Connecticut are along the shore, as far as I can tell.
They have “ear tuft” feathers, as the name implies, but they are so short that they are virtually never visible. Marsh, gravel, and rock quarries, fields, woodlots, and thickets are all good places to look for them during the winter. In close accordance with the population of their prey, such as moles, rats, rabbits, and weasels, their populations in a specific region might fluctuate year to year.
Because they are particularly sensitive to habitat loss and fragmentation from the massive open grasslands they need, their populations as a whole are believed to be declining.
These creatures can travel great distances across open ocean and may be found in a variety of locales around the globe.
8. SNOWY OWL
- Scientific name: Bubo scandiacus
- Length: 20.5-27.9 inches
- Weight: 56.4-104.1 oz
- Wingspan: 49.6-57.1 inches
Snowy owls are found across most of Canada during the winter, but each year, they expand their range farther south into the United States. At least a few can be seen on a regular basis throughout the winter in Connecticut. Year to year, the quantity might vary greatly.
During the summer, these lovely owls travel far north to Canada’s and Greenland’s polar areas to breed. During all hours of the day, they’ll be hunting lemmings, their favorite summer meal.
Because of their bright white plumage, snowy owls are easier to find than other owls if they are nearby. They are diurnal, unlike most other owls, and are thus active during the day. For hunting, they favor open areas like fields and beaches. In fact, the best place to hunt for them in Connecticut is along the beach. Look for them perched out in the open on snowy beaches or in the snow.