Owls in Missouri are the subject of this article. Great Horned owls, Eastern Screech-owls, Barn Owls, Barred Owls, Northern Saw-whet Owls, and Long-eared Owl are among the species of owls that may be found in Missouri.
THE 8 SPECIES OF OWLS IN MISSOURI
The owls are a one-of-a-kind kind of bird of prey. They are mostly nocturnal, with huge eyes and massive feathers that enable them to fly and hunt without being noticed. Many things unite the following eight species, yet they are all very different from one other.
1. GREAT HORNED OWL
Length: 18.1-24.8 in
Weight: 32.1-88.2 oz
Wingspan: 39.8-57.1 in
Among other birds of prey, great horned owls stand out. They have become a figure in several legends and works of art because to their unique deep hoot, feathered tufts on their heads, and huge, yellow eyes.
They may be found all throughout Missouri and North America, year round. They may be found in deciduous and evergreen woods, clearings and open areas, as well as swamps, which occupy a wide variety of habitats.
They are warm in the winter thanks to their soft, fluffy feathers, which also enable them to fly quietly and ambush small rodents and other prey. Little rodents, reptiles, and insects are favorite foods of great horned owls, but they aren’t afraid to eat bigger creatures.
2. EASTERN SCREECH OWL
Length: 6.3-9.8 in
Weight: 4.3-8.6 oz
Wingspan: 18.9-24.0 in
The camouflage of eastern screech owls is well-known. In Missouri, you’ll need excellent vision to spot the year-round owls. Their patterned feathers have a grey and red-brown color that helps them blend in with the trees.
Most kinds of woods and forests, particularly near water sources, have them nestling in empty tree cavities. Listen for their trills, which sound a lot like a horse’s whinny, at night to help you locate them.
Locating one of these owls may also benefit from paying attention to smaller birds. Birds like blue jays and other crow family members might be mobbing an Eastern screech owl if you hear a lot of commotion and alarm calls.
3. BARN OWL
Length: 12.6-15.8 in
Weight: 14.1-24.7 oz
Wingspan: 39.4-49.2 in
Throughout Missouri and the rest of the United States, you may find barn owls year-round. They hide in shady, quiet spots like abandoned barns and other human-made structures throughout the day.
Their bodies are light tan with gray bands on their heads, necks, and upperwings. Their faces are pale white with dark eyes.
When they fly through open plains and grasslands in search of a meal at night, they appear as a burst of white. They can locate small rodents with sound, even in the snow or under vegetation.
Their razor-sharp talons allow them to catch prey in the darkest of settings. They swallow their meals whole and expel the indigestible leftovers as pellets to eat. They don’t hoot, rather they make alarming, screech-like noises, unlike other owls.
4. BARRED OWL
Length: 16.9-19.7 in
Weight: 16.6-37.0 oz
Wingspan: 39.0-43.3 in
In Missouri’s large evergreen and deciduous forests, you may find barred owls all year. These owls have dark eyes and are mottled brown and white in color. At night, their velvet brown skin blends in with the trees they perch on.
Barred owls hunt at night when it gets dark. Their distinct cries, which sound like they’re asking “who cooks for you?” if you hear it, are the best way to locate them. They may even fly over to scope you out if you wait quietly and patiently.
These birds don’t go very far from where they were born. To attract a breeding couple, construct a nesting box in an mature woodland. Install the box as early as possible in the breeding season, which runs from March to August.
5. NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL
Length: 7.1-8.3 in
Weight: 2.3-5.3 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-18.9 in
Just non-breeding populations of Northern saw-whet owls may be found in Missouri, as if these tiny, elusive birds aren’t already difficult to see. They are even scarcer in a wide region of the state.
These owls are no larger than an American Robin in size. With their small frames and cat-like eyes, they have such sweet faces. They don’t get along with songbirds, much like cats do. Small birds making a ruckus is a excellent way to determine if one is around; they frequently do it when trying to drive a roosting Northern saw-whet owl away.
The sound of a saw being sharpened on a whetting stone is thought to be the origin of their name. You may hear their short, high-pitched toot-toot-toot call if you listen closely on quiet evenings from January to May.
6. LONG-EARED OWL
Length: 13.8-15.8 in
Weight: 7.8-15.3 oz
Missouri is home to only non-breeding Long-eared owl populations. Because of their secretive nature and superb camouflage, they’re really difficult to detect. They stayed low during the day, only coming out at night to hunt in open areas.
Like other owls, listening for their calls is the most effective way to find them. At spring and summer nights, listen for their lengthy, deep hooting and barking calls. During the winter, they roost in large numbers together, giving you a chance to see them.
6. LONG-EARED OWL
Length: 13.8-15.8 in
Weight: 7.8-15.3 oz
Missouri is home to just non-breeding Long-eared owl populations. Due to their covert nature and exceptional camouflage, they’re extremely difficult to detect. They slept low in thick woods during the day before emerging at night to hunt in open plains.
Listening for their cries is the finest technique to locate these owls, as it is with other owls. Listen throughout spring and summer evenings for their long, deep hoots and barking calls. During the winter, they roost in large numbers, which gives you a great chance to see them.
7. SHORT-EARED OWL
Length: 13.4-16.9 in
Weight: 7.3-16.8 oz
Wingspan: 33.5-40.5 in
Missouri has a predominance of non-breeding Short-eared owl populations. They can be found year-round in some parts of the state’s northern regions.
The best time to see them is just before dawn and after dusk. They are mainly active during the day, unlike most owls. Their pale faces with yellow eyes outlined in black are a good place to look for them.
They flap with smooth, stiff beats while flying, giving the impression that they are gliding effortlessly. They can cruise across open fields and plains without making a noise thanks to their broad, rounded wings.
When it comes to hunting, the flight pattern shifts. They fly low to the ground while pursuing their prey, swerving directionally unpredictably.
8. SNOWY OWL
Length: 20.5-27.9 in
Wingspan: 49.6-57.1 in
If you manage to sight a Snowy owl in Missouri, consider yourself lucky. Irruptions, or large bird migrateations, are the only times they can be seen here. In any case, they are found in the Arctic tundra of Canada or the northernmost reaches of the United States.
With smooth, rounded heads and heavy, heavily feathered bodies, they are huge owls that are bigger than even Great horned owls. Their beautiful, white plumage is the most obvious way they stand out from other owls.
They’re also diurnal, unlike other owls, and hunt during the day. In open areas of tundra and field, they frequently sit directly on the ground.