10 Types of Owls in Michigan [Images + Ids]

Michigan is a state known for its beautiful lakes, forests, and diverse wildlife, including a variety of owl species that inhabit the area. From the elusive Northern Saw-whet Owl to the iconic and powerful Great Horned Owl, these birds of prey are an important part of Michigan’s ecosystem and a popular subject for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. In this post, we will explore the different types of owls found in Michigan, their habitats, behaviors, and conservation status. We’ll also share some tips on how to spot and identify these elusive creatures in the wild, and provide some resources for further reading and exploration.

Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher, a wildlife enthusiast, or just curious about the natural world, we invite you to join us on a journey to discover the fascinating world of owls in Michigan!

10 Types of Owls in Michigan

  • Great Horned Owl
  • Great Gray Owl
  • Barn Owl
  • Barred Owl
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl
  • Snowy Owl
  • Short-Eared Owl
  • Long-Eared Owl
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Northern Hawk Owl

Great Horned Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Bubo virginianus
  • Life span: up to 13 years in the wild
  • Size: length of 18-25 inches, wingspan of 36-60 inches
  • Weight: 2-5.5 lbs
  • Origin: North, Central, and South America

Because of its depiction in films like the Harry Potter series and its distinctive hoot, the great horned owl is well recognized. These enormous owls have a maximum weight of five and a half pounds. They can take down ferocious prey like ospreys and falcons because they have powerful claws and good flying abilities.

Once they get something in their claws, it takes 28 pounds of power to pull them apart.

From Mexico to northern Alaska, these birds may be found across North America. It lives in deserts, mountains, woodlands, and plains and is one of the most widespread owls. The great horned owl is equally at home in urban environments, suburban regions, and natural places.

All of this suggests that your chances of seeing one are excellent.

The great horned owl has golden eyes and long hair around the ears. They may have a body that is cream or light grey with bars that are grey, cinnamon, or both.

Contrary to what you may have heard, they can’t really turn their heads 360 degrees, in case you were curious. Yet, they can spin their heads 180 degrees which seems to be rotating their heads entirely around. These birds move their heads back and forth because they are unable to shift their eyes from side to side.

Great Gray Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Strix nebulosa
  • Life span: up to 40 years in captivity
  • Size: length of 24-33 inches, wingspan of 53-60 inches
  • Weight: 2-4 lbs
  • Origin: boreal forests of North America and Eurasia

One of the biggest owl species in the US is the great grey owl. They are a little bit lighter, yet they are bigger than a Great Horned Owl and are around the size of a goose and a crow.

The owl is grey with silver, white, and brown bars or streaks, as the name implies. They have brown rings around their brilliant yellow eyes, and a white “X” divides their eyes and have a big, spherical skull but no ear tufts.

Great Gray owls are difficult to locate since they don’t want to be around people or populated areas. You normally see them rather than hear them since they don’t cry out frequently and are silent as they fly. Furthermore, Great Gray Owls are small-mammal hunters that reside in coniferous woods.

Barn Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Tyto alba
  • Life span: up to 20 years in captivity
  • Size: length of 12-16 inches, wingspan of 39-49 inches
  • Weight: 0.5-1.4 lbs
  • Origin: worldwide distribution

The barn owl earned its name because it prefers to reside in abandoned barns and other structures in rural regions. They also build their nests in tree cavities. They search for prey by flying over wide spaces and listening and have great hearing as you could imagine.

A barn owl may be identified by its distinctive face. They have heart-shaped faces made of pure white, with big, black eyes. Their back and wings are rather speckled and either grey, golden, or cinnamon in color. They seem all-white from below while they are flying because their breast and the undersides of their wings are both white. In contrast to the great horned owl, they lack ear tufts.

Barn owl chicks will go far from their nest to discover their own territory, but once they locate a place they like, they remain there their whole lives.

Except for a few locations in a few of the central northern states, you can see barn owls everywhere throughout the US and Mexico.

Barred Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Strix varia
  • Life span: up to 24 years in captivity
  • Size: length of 16-25 inches, wingspan of 38-49 inches
  • Weight: 1-2 lbs
  • Origin: North America

The great horned owl and the barred owl are almost the same size, but the barred owl weighs significantly less. They have prominent bars all over their body and are a mottled brown and white color. On the rest of their bodies, the breasts’ bars are both vertical and horizontal.

These birds are not loud ones. While they often remain silent, sometimes you may hear them calling out throughout the day.

Barred owls like dense forests, whether they are in a marsh or high on a mountain. They are not seen in urban areas or on plains. They are widespread throughout the eastern US and as far north as Canada. The birds’ range has grown recently, and now the Pacific Northwest is home to colonies of them as well. they are non-migratory birds and settle in one location for all their lives. They will, however, travel great distances to hunt if they are unable to obtain food.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Aegolius acadicus
  • Life span: up to 7 years in the wild
  • Size: length of 7-8 inches, wingspan of 16-18 inches
  • Weight: 2.3-5.3 oz
  • Origin: North America

The body of a northern saw-whet owl is mottled brown and white, and it is little, approximately the size of a robin. They have heart-shaped faces with large golden eyes and a little white V-mark between their eyes.

They are hard to spot, particularly because they hunt at night, but you may tell they are around if you hear their harsh cry. If you look closely, you may be able to see them since they build their nests in tree holes at around eye level during the day.

Don’t search for them in open spaces or urban areas since they exclusively inhabit woods, especially old forests. They travel long distances for breeding and eat tiny rodents like shrews and mice. Moreover, They will also consume sparrows, waxwings, chickadees, and juncos.

They are found all throughout the United States, with small breeding populations in the South and widespread permanent populations in the North, including the Rocky Mountains and western Coastal ranges.

Snowy Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Bubo scandiacus
  • Life span: up to 9 years in the wild
  • Size: length of 20-28 inches, wingspan of 49-59 inches
  • Weight: 3.5-6.5 lbs
  • Origin: Arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia

The snowy owl is a beautiful bird. The males have predominantly white plumage that becomes whiter as they mature, and they have eyes that are a striking, cat-like yellow. Females and young birds have markings that are dark brown or black.

Throughout the long summer days, snowy owls hunt for animals like lemmings and ptarmigans in the Arctic Circle. Throughout the winter, they migrate south to Canada, Alaska, and the far north of the US.

You may often see them sitting on the ground at their hunting places. They will also perch on fences, hay bales, power or telephone poles, and abandoned buildings. They examine the tundra or fields where they prey by flying low to the ground.

It is uncommon to see a snowy owl, particularly when their numbers are decreasing rapidly.

Short-Eared Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Asio flammeus
  • Life span: up to 10 years in the wild
  • Size: length of 13-17 inches, wingspan of 33-43 inches
  • Weight: 7-16 oz
  • Origin: North and South America, Europe, and Asia

You were correct to assume that these owls had little ear tufts. Owls have ear tufts that assist guide sound to their ears so they can hear prospective predators and engage in hunting. The ear tufts of short-eared owls are tiny and resemble little horns.

These owls may be identified by their characteristic brown and white mottling that is bordered by black bars. The eyes are golden and have heavy black outlines around the cream-colored face.

Their unusual appearance makes it simpler to notice them, but the fact that they are active throughout the day makes it much easier to see them. They also have a distinctive flying pattern that is similar to a moth, which makes identification much easier.

Short-Eared Owls don’t love woody places as many owls do. They like wide-open spaces like meadows and fields where they may sit on the ground and listen for potential prey. Then, in order to capture their prey, they soar up and plunge down. Even their nests are underground.

Long-Eared Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Asio otus
  • Life span: up to 10 years in the wild
  • Size: length of 13-16 inches, wingspan of 35-39 inches
  • Weight: 7-15 oz
  • Origin: widespread across North America, Europe, and Asia.

The term “long-eared owl” comes from the extremely lengthy ear tufts on these birds. With hints of buff or orange, the tufts are mostly black and have two white lines between their bright eyes.

They have spotted and thin brown bodies. These nocturnal raptors forage on meadows or open spaces while nesting in trees.

Long-Eared Owls often make hoots, squeals, and barks that are easy to recognize. They can fly very long distances, although they typically only migrate at night. Birds that migrated from Canada to Mexico in a single year have been discovered by researchers.

Burrowing Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Athene cunicularia
  • Life span: up to 9 years in the wild
  • Size: length of 7-10 inches, wingspan of 21-24 inches
  • Weight: 5.5-8 oz
  • Origin: North and South America

The majority of owls reside in trees or bushes, although burrowing owls may run along the ground in prairies, deserts, and grasslands because they have long legs. They engage in rodent hunting before settling in tunnels that other creatures, such as ground squirrels and prairie dogs, have abandoned.

They will even hunt little rodents before occupying their burrows. If it is not possible, they will reside inside tubes or pipelines.

They have evolved a high tolerance for carbon dioxide, which accumulates in subterranean places, as a result of their adaptation to living underground.

To recognize them, look for long-legged owls with brown mottling and brilliant yellow eyes and a flat head.

Northern Hawk Owl

Image Source

  • Scientific name: Surnia ulula
  • Life span: up to 10 years in the wild
  • Size: length of 15-17 inches, wingspan of 33-43 inches
  • Weight: 7-16 oz
  • Origin: boreal forests of North America and Eurasia

While it is an owl in actuality, the Northern Hawk Owl derives its name from the way it acts like a hawk. For example, they hunt by sight, have long tails, and perch at the tops of trees. Yet they have round heads, golden eyes, and bodies that are spotted with grey, brown, and white. Moreover, they have grey faces with black borders that give them a very owl-like appearance.

Most of the time, they hunt during the day, but you could spot them searching for food in the woodlands where they live at night.

These birds normally inhabit Canada’s far north, but if food is in short supply during the winter, they may migrate to the southern US.

Conclusion

Michigan is home to several species of owls, including the great horned, barred, and snowy owl. These incredible birds play an important role in controlling rodent populations and maintaining the ecological balance in the state. It is crucial to protect their habitats and ensure their continued presence in Michigan.

 

Q: What species of owls are found in Michigan?

A: Michigan is home to several species of owls, including the great horned owl, barred owl, eastern screech-owl, northern saw-whet owl, and long-eared owl.

Q: When is the best time to see owls in Michigan?

A: Owls in Michigan can be seen year-round, but the best time to see them is during their breeding season in the spring and early summer, when they are more active and vocal.

Q: Where can I go to see owls in Michigan?

A: Owls can be found in many different habitats throughout Michigan, including forests, wetlands, and even suburban areas. Some popular locations for owl-watching in Michigan include the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Hartwick Pines State Park, and the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

Q: What should I do if I find an injured or orphaned owl in Michigan?

A: If you find an injured or orphaned owl in Michigan, do not attempt to handle or care for it yourself. Instead, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for assistance.

Q: Are owls protected in Michigan?

A: Yes, all species of owls are protected under Michigan state law. It is illegal to harm or kill owls, disturb their nests or eggs, or possess them without a permit.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
Posts created 744

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top