This post was originally published on January 31, 2013. We’ve seen or heard these three owls at our Decorah or Decorah North nests. GHO have also been seen at Great Spirit Bluff.
Owls are a large and diverse group of mainly nocturnal birds. Over 200 species are distributed among 27 genera worldwide, ranging in size from the tiny Elf Owl (weighing as little as 31 grams or one ounce) to the massive Blakiston’s Fish Owl (weighing as much as 4.5 kilograms or ten pounds). Despite differences in size, wingspan, color, plumage patterns, and habitat, owls share some common characteristics, including:
- Facial disks
- Large forward facing eyes
- ‘Soft’ feathers
- Round heads, distinctive facial markings and/or ear tufts
- Talons and a curved beak
We’ve seen and/or heard Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, and Eastern Screech owls at our Decorah and Decorah North nests. Owls have a number of adaptations that help them survive and thrive after dark, including highly specialized hearing, strong feet and talons, night-adapted vision, and silent, cryptic plumage. Click the down arrows to learn more about them!