Owls in Georgia

Owls in Georgia (7 Beautiful Species With Photos)

Get ready for an awesome adventure into the world of owls right here in Georgia! Did you know that Georgia is a special place for owls? That’s right, seven different kinds of owls live here, out of the nineteen kinds found in the whole United States.

Owls come in all sizes, from really small to pretty big. Each type of owl is special and has its own way of living. Some owls are super easy to see, but others like to play hide and seek and can be a little tricky to find. But guess what? These cool birds have amazing calls that sound like nothing else, making looking for them an adventure you won’t forget.

Now, let’s start our journey to meet these seven awesome owls of Georgia. We’re going to learn about what they do and where they like to hang out. Plus, we’ll give you some top-secret tips on how to find them when you’re exploring outside. Once you know where they live and what they do, you’ll have a great chance of seeing these amazing owls for yourself. So, are you ready? Let’s jump in and discover all about the owls that call Georgia their home!

1. Eastern Screech-Owl

  • Scientific name: Megascops asio
  • Life span: Usually lives for 8 to 10 years.
  • Size: Measures about 16 to 25 cm (6.5 to 10 in).
  • Weight: Weighs between 121 and 244 grams (4.25 to 8.5 oz).
  • Wingspan: Has a wingspan of 46 to 61 cm (18 to 24 in).
  • Status: Classified as Least Concern.

The Eastern Screech-Owl is a really cool bird that’s not afraid of people and lives all over the eastern part of the United States, even down to Mexico. These owls have two different looks: some have a reddish color in the south, and others are more gray in the north. This is probably because they want to blend in with the woods where they live.

Eastern Screech-Owl

Now, these owls usually like to be alone, but they pair up in April to mate. They do sweet things to show they care for each other and then make their home in a tree hole in a thick, dark forest.

Even though they usually stick with one partner, sometimes the boy owls will have more than one girlfriend. If this happens, the new girl might take over the nest.

Eastern Screech-Owls are great hunters and eat lots of different things. In Georgia, they mostly eat small animals like voles and mice, and lots of bugs, especially beetles and moths. They also munch on spiders, worms, and snails, and sometimes they even eat fruits and berries. They do all their hunting at night, using their super hearing to find their food.

2. Great Horned Owl

  • Scientific name: Bubo virginianus
  • Life span: Lives for 25 to 50 years.
  • Size: Measures about 43 to 64 cm (17 to 25 in).
  • Weight: Weighs between 1200 and 1600 grams (2.6 to 3.5 lbs).
  • Wingspan: Has a wingspan of 91 to 153 cm (3 to 5 ft).
  • Status: Classified as Least Concern.
Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl is a super adaptable bird that lives in all kinds of places, like deserts, wetlands, grasslands, cities, and forests. You can find them all over North America and even down to Brazil! They’re night birds with cool brown feathers that help them hide wherever they are. They have these neat feather tufts on their heads that look like horns, which might help them talk to other birds, but no one’s really sure why they have them.

When it’s time to find a partner in North America, the Great Horned Owl starts looking in January. The boy owl does a fancy flight dance and makes noise on the nest to impress the girl owl.

3. American Barn Owl

  • Scientific name: Tyto furcata
  • Life span: Lives for about 10 years.
  • Size: Measures about 34 to 38 cm (13 to 15 in).
  • Weight: Weighs between 400 and 600 grams (0.9 to 1.3 lbs).
  • Wingspan: Has a wingspan of 29 to 36 cm (11 to 14 in).
  • Status: Classified as Least Concern.

The American Barn Owl is a really interesting bird that looks different from others. It has a face shaped like a heart and feathers that are white and gold, which makes it stand out. You can find this owl in many places in North America, including Georgia. It’s an amazing hunter that uses its super good hearing and flying to catch things like small animals, other birds, and bugs.

American Barn Owl

This owl makes a soft, screechy sound and flies without making any noise, which is pretty cool. You might see it sitting in barns, on trees, or flying close to the ground over fields and grasslands. Seeing an American Barn Owl is like seeing how beautiful and amazing nature can be.

4. Barred Owl

  • Scientific name: Strix varia
  • Life span: Lives for about 8 years.
  • Size: Measures about 40 to 63 cm (15 to 25 in).
  • Weight: Weighs between 610 and 1,150 grams (1.3 to 2.5 lbs).
  • Wingspan: Has a wingspan of 96 to 125 cm (38 to 49 in).
  • Status: Classified as Least Concern.

Barred Owls are pretty cool because they don’t travel much, staying within 6 miles of where they’re first found. There was a big study with 158 owls that showed this. You can see them in lots of places in the eastern United States and southern Canada. They have really nice feathers that are brownish-grey with dark stripes underneath.

Barred Owl

Just like the American Barn Owl, Barred Owls stick with one partner for life. The boy owls try to impress the girl owls by nodding and spreading their wings. They start looking for love in February and make their homes in tree holes in the deep forest.

In Georgia, Barred Owls mostly eat small animals like mice and voles, but they also eat birds, reptiles, and bugs. Sometimes, they even catch big animals like rabbits and squirrels. They’re smart hunters who hunt day and night, listening carefully for food near rivers and wetlands in the forest. They’re also not shy about eating leftovers if they find them.

5. Short-eared Owl

  • Scientific name: Asio flammeus
  • Life span: Lives for about 12 years.
  • Size: Measures about 34 to 43 cm (13 to 17 in).
  • Weight: Weighs between 200 and 475 grams (7.3 to 16.8 oz).
  • Wingspan: Has a wingspan of 85 to 110 cm (33 to 43 in).
  • Status: Classified as Least Concern.

The Short-Eared Owl is a really common owl that you can find all over the world, living in lots of different places. It’s easy to spot because it has a tiny black beak and brown spots all over its body, with big brown stripes on its wings and tail. What’s super cool about this owl is that it likes to hunt in the daytime, which is not very common for owls.

Short-eared Owl

These owls have a special way of living together. They find a partner just for the season, starting in March, and they like to hang out in groups. They’re different from other owls because they make their nests on the ground in places with short plants, like prairies, meadows, or cold, flat lands called tundras.

In Georgia, the Short-Eared Owl mostly eats little animals like voles, shrews, and small rodents. But they also eat bigger ones like rabbits, weasels, and hares sometimes. They’re not picky eaters!

6. Long-eared Owl

  • Scientific name: Asio otus
  • Life span: Lives for 10 to 27 years.
  • Size: Measures about 31 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in).
  • Weight: Weighs between 160 and 435 grams (5.6 to 15.3 oz).
  • Wingspan: Has a wingspan of 86 to 102 cm (2 ft 10 in to 3 ft 4 in).
  • Status: Classified as Least Concern.

The Long-eared Owl is a smart bird that knows how to stay hidden. It has brown and black feathers that help it look just like a pine tree, so it’s hard to see in the thick leaves.

Firstly, this owl is found all over the world and is known for its spooky calls that can travel really far, even through thick forests. If you walk in the woods, you might hear it, and it’s a sound many people know.

Long-eared Owl

Next, let’s talk about how these owls live. They start looking for a mate around March. They like to stay with just one partner. The boy owls sing and move their wings in a special way to show they have a place to live. The girl owls look for a good spot to lay their eggs.

Also, Long-eared Owls are different because they don’t make their own homes. They find nests that hawks left or holes in old trees to live in.

Finally, these owls eat meat. In places like Georgia, they mostly eat small animals like mice and insects, and sometimes other birds too. They’re really good at hunting for food.

7. Northern Saw-whet Owl

  • Scientific name: Aegolius acadicus
  • Life span: Lives for 7 to 17 years.
  • Size: Measures about 17 to 22 cm (6.7 to 8.7 in).
  • Weight: Weighs between 54 and 151 grams (1.9 to 5.3 oz).
  • Wingspan: Has a wingspan of 42 to 56.3 cm (16.5 to 22.2 in).
  • Status: Classified as Least Concern.

The Northern Saw-Whet Owl is a small and elusive bird found in many parts of North America, including Georgia. This owl is known for being very secretive. It has a round, creamy face streaked with brown, a dark, pointed beak, and bright yellow eyes.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Its belly is pale white with delicate brown markings, while its upper body is dark brown with bright white spots. The owl gets its name from its unique call, which sounds like a saw being sharpened on a whetstone.

The Northern Saw-Whet Owl is a serial monogamist, meaning it forms pairs that last only for a single breeding season, which starts in March. However, when prey is plentiful, male owls might mate with more than one female. These owls make their homes in holes created by woodpeckers, tree trunks, or man-made nest boxes.

In Georgia, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl mainly eats small mammals like voles, mice, and shrews, as well as insects, birds, and other small creatures. These clever hunters take advantage of any prey they can find.

They hunt mostly at night, using their sharp talons and beak to quickly and easily capture their prey, even in tight spaces. They can even overpower prey that is larger than themselves.

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Q1: What owls are most common in Georgia?

The most common owls in Georgia are the Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, and Barred Owl. These species are widely distributed across various habitats in the state.

Q2: Where to see owls in Georgia?

Owls can be seen in many of Georgia’s state parks, wildlife management areas, and forests. Specific locations include the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Chattahoochee National Forest, and Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge.

Q3: Do snowy owls live in Georgia?

Snowy Owls are not common residents of Georgia. They are typically found in the Arctic regions, but occasionally, they may be spotted in Georgia during winter months when they migrate further south than usual.

Q4: How do you attract owls in Georgia?

To attract owls in Georgia, you can create a suitable habitat by maintaining mature trees, installing nest boxes, and ensuring a steady food supply such as small mammals and insects. Reducing light pollution and providing a water source can also help make your area more appealing to owls.

Mya Bambrick

I am a lifelong bird lover and nature enthusiast. I admire birds for their beauty, diversity, and intelligence. Birding is more than a hobby for me; it is a way of life. Therefore, I created this website to provide better and quality information about bird species. You know there are many bird species in the world right now. I started a path to introduce you to birds one by one.

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