Many people like owls because they are mysterious and wise. Because of their camouflage and nocturnal habits, the majority of people never see them. This makes them all the more intriguing. It’s also possible that you’ll be curious about how many different owl species may be discovered in my region. Owls in Oklahoma will be discussed in this article. A little information on the sizes and looks of various owls species, as well as where they may be found in Oklahoma, are included here.
There are roughly 19 to 20 different species of owls in North America, according to current research. There are up to ten varieties of these owls in Oklahoma! Oklahoma’s vast size and central position in the nation are undoubtedly among the reasons why it has so many diverse varieties of owls. This permits a habitat for a range of owls to exist, which may support several distinct habitats.
THE 10 SPECIES OF OWLS IN OKLAHOMA
The Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Western Screech-owl, Eastern Screech-owl, Snowy Owl, Burrowing Owl, Barred Owl, Long-eared Owl, and Short-eared Owl are the ten species of owls found in Oklahoma.
1. GREAT HORNED OWL
Length: 18.1-24.8 in
Wingspan: 39.8-57.1 in
Weight: 32.1-88.2 oz
The Great Horned Owl, which lives throughout the year in Oklahoma, is the state’s biggest owl. Due to their enormous bulk, yellow eyes, and “horns” of feathers that protrude out on either side of their head, one of the most common and identifiable owls in North America.
Several environments, such as woods, swamps, deserts, and more urban settings like city parks, are home to these owls. Their plumage varies greatly across the country, with the southwest seeming to be paler and grayer than the rest of the nation.
Mammalian, avian, reptile, insect, and fish are among the diverse foods eaten by Great Horned Owls. The various owl species make a wide range of noises, some of which are non-hoots. The sound of owls, however, is generally associated with the Great Horned Owl hoot, which is often employed in TV and cinema.
2. BARN OWL
Length: 12.6-15.8 in
Wingspan: 39.4-49.2 in
Weight: 14.1-24.7 oz
Year-round, you may see Barn Owls in Oklahoma. Open environments such as grasslands, fields, ranch / agricultural land, and strips of woodland are where they may be found. Holes and crevices are favorite places for Barn Owls to build nests.
Many man-made structures, such as barns, attics, and church steeples, have a lot of eaves and beams, which is how they got their name. Tree cavities, caverns, and cliff-side nesting are also common. During the day, Barn Owls are extremely nocturnal, and they are difficult to find.
They fly low over fields at dusk and through the night, using their exceptional hearing to detect mice and other rodents. If you catch a glimpse of them in low light, their large, ghostly white face and belly may be incredibly unsettling!
3. BARRED OWL
Length: 16.9-19.7 in
Wingspan: 39.0-43.3 in
Weight: 16.6-37.0 oz
The Barred Owl, which has a wide range that extends east to the Atlantic, is mostly found in eastern Oklahoma and is beautiful brown and white striped. These birds prefer to stay within a 10-mile radius and do not like to travel far away.
They do not like to be in the same region as a Great Horned Owl and will relocate to the farthest reaches of their territory if one is present. During the day, you might see them roosting in trees in the wooded area, but at night, you’ll notice them more often.
Their hooting call is characterized as sounding like “who cooks for you?” “Who cooks for you all?” he asks. A mated pair will sing a variety of hoots, honks, caws, and gurgles throughout the course of their relationship.
4. LONG-EARED OWL
Length: 13.8-15.8 in (height)
Weight: 7.8-15.3 oz
During the winter, long-eared owls may be found across Oklahoma.
Their wide yellow eyes, white V-shaped face pattern, and long feather tufts that point straight up on either side of their head may make them appear perpetually surprised. In Oklahoma, long-eared owls are generally quiet save during the breeding season, therefore you won’t frequently hear their hooting.
These medium-sized owls are most often seen roosting in pine woodlands near pasture or grassland environments, and they are well disguised.
5. SHORT-EARED OWL
Weight: 12 oz
The short-eared owl spends the summer in Canada and northern United States, with only a brief visit to Oklahoma during the winter. During this time, they can be found all over the state.
These birds have ear tuft feathers, which are extremely short and virtually never visible, as their name implies. Look for them in marshes, gravel and rock quarries, farmland, woodlots, and thickets throughout the winter. In response to the population of their prey, such as moles, rats, rabbits, and weasels, their populations in a specific region might fluctuate year to year.
They are especially vulnerable to habitat destruction and partitioning from the vast open grasslands they need to be transformed into agricultural land, grazing land, leisure grounds, and housing development. Their populations are believed to be declining overall.
6. BURROWING OWL
Length: 7.5-9.8 in
Wingspan: 21.6 in
Weight: 5.3 oz
During the breeding season, Central and West Oklahoma are home to Burrowing Owls.
These owls, which dwell in burrows underground, are rather tiny and have long legs. These burrows are sometimes excavated by the animals themselves, and occasionally they take over prairie dog or ground squirrel burrows. Man-made objects such as pipes, buckets, and culverts have been discovered to be used for burrows by them.
They can be found in open environments like deserts and meadows. Because they are so tiny in comparison to the vast open landscape they call home, and when they are underground, barely protrude above the horizon, it can be difficult to see them. Dawn and dusk are the busiest times for burrowing owls.
7. WESTERN SCREECH-OWL
Length: 7.5 – 9.8 in
Wingspan: 21.6 – 24.4 in
Weight: 3.5 – 10.8 oz
All throughout the west coast of North America, as well as in numerous Western states, Western Screech-Owls may be found. They have a small range in the westernmost part of the state, barely touching the “handle” of Oklahoma.
Only around 7-10 inches tall, Screech-Owls are on the smaller end of the spectrum. Both rural and urban environments, they breed in tree hollows. Owl boxes supplied in metropolitan backyards have been known to be used. Their flawlessly disguised feathers make them exceedingly difficult to see when they’re concealed inside tree cavities.
Listening for one is your best bet of locating one, as with most owls. Their cry is commonly characterized as a tooting sound with a rhythm resembling that of a rolling ball.
8. EASTERN SCREECH-OWL
Length: 6.3-9.8 in
Wingspan: 18.9-24.0 in
Weight: 4.3-8.6 oz
The Eastern Screech Owl is ubiquitous across the eastern half of the United States and has a tiny size comparable to its western counterpart. These owls are only missing from Oklahoma’s far western border, which includes all of central, southern, and eastern Oklahoma. One seems to reach a halt on the westernmost point of Oklahoma, and the other appears to begin.
Gray or “red” (really a reddish brown) are the two scaring owls plumage colors available. In Oklahoma, you’re more likely to come across reddish variants, but it’s impossible to say for sure.
Their name might imply that they create a shrill or horrible sound, but this is not the case. They don’t cry, instead producing shrill noises or “whinnies” that sound like a high-pitched horse. You may attract eastern screech owls to your yard by setting up an appropriately sized nest box.
9. SNOWY OWL
Length: 20.5-27.9 inches
Weight: 56.4-104.1 oz
Wingspan: 49.6-57.1 inches
The snowy owl has a winter range that stretches across much of Canada, with some exceptions in the north. However, each year it moves farther south into the United States. During an irruptive migration, they may be found as far south as Oklahoma. While reports of sightings are uncommon in Oklahoma, Snowy Owls may be seen from time to time.
These magnificent owls breed yearly in the far north of Canada and Greenland, where they travel all year. Snowy Owls that have established a permanent den will stay there throughout the winter.
Because of their brilliant white plumage, if there are Snowy Owls around you, they’re easier to see than other owls. They roost in plain sites, and they are diurnal, so they are active during the day, unlike most other owls. For hunting, snowy owls favor vast open areas, but they will perched on a high point if necessary.
Snowy Owls, unlike other owl species, are fearless of where they were born. Hundreds of miles away from each other, in opposite directions, owls from the same nest were tracked and discovered.
10. NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL
Length: 7.1-8.3 inches
Weight: 2.3-5.3 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-18.9 inches
Learning to recognize and listen for the call of a Northern Saw-whet Owl at night is the greatest chance of seeing one. They are known as the “saw-whet” owl because of their unique cry, which sounds like a blade being sharpened on a whetstone. They call more often during late winter and early summer, so be sure to listen for a high-pitched, “too-too-too” cry around then.
The nest of the female Northern Saw-whet Owl is immaculate. After her chicks are approximately 18 days old, she departs the nest, and the male continues to feed them until they exit about 10 days later. The young owls leave the nest with the nest covered in rotting prey, pellets, and fecal matter, as is typical of youngsters. They do not clean up after themselves.
These are fairly common in Oklahoma, but their numbers are dwindling. The smallest owls in Oklahoma and the United States are the Northern Saw-whet Owls. These animals have enormous spherical heads with enormous eyes, which help them to be recognized. These owls are also notoriously difficult to locate 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 perfectly with the trees around them. These owls are naturally skittish, preferring to hunker down and stay unnoticed. They’re only active at night, like other owls.