owllogo

Owls of New York State

Species Habitat Diet Nest Eggs Ears Hunting Technique General Information
Barn Owl farmland, open fields restricted, mostly rodents cavity nester 5-7 white, asynchronous large and unequal openings nocturnal, trangulates by sound declining -- loss of habitat,
won't migrate,
world-wide distribution
Eastern Screech Owl open woodlands parks and towns insects, rodents and birds, generalist cavity nester 4-5 white, synchronous hatching small and equal openings swoops (glides down and snatches up prey from the ground in its talons)

year-round resident,
numbers declining,
loss of nest sites -- will use nest boxes. Two colors!

Great Horned Owl edges of forest and meadows generalist predator -- eats anything! old hawk nests 2-3 dull white, asynchronous small and equal openings nocturnal, also dawn and dusk, swoops year-round resident,
cache winter prey and defrosts by "incubating"
Long-eared Owl coniferous forest near meadows mostly rodents, few insects old crow, squirrel or hawk nests 4-5 white, asynchronous large and unequal openings strictly nocturnal over open areas, low patrol communal roosts and sometimes nests in loose colonies
Short-eared Owl meadows and marshes mostly rodents, few insects ground, grass covered 4-7 white, asynchronous large and unequal openings at dawn and dusk, cruising flights over meadows

nomadic migrations to high rodent populations,
nests loose in colonies

Northern Saw-whet Owl dense coniferous forest or swamp mainly rodents, some insects cavity nester 5-6 white, asynchronous large and unequal openings swoops (glides down and snatches up prey from the ground in its talons) migrates below snow belt during winter,
our smallest owl,
active at dusk and before dawn
Barred Owl densely wooded swamps and streams mice and some small mammals cavity nester usually 2-3 white large and unequal openings very nocturnal, low patrol, hovers and pounces year-round resident,
"Who cooks for you?" call
Snowy Owl mostly flat tundra, dwarf shrubs and grasses lemmings, voles and waterfowl ground nest, usually unlined 5-8 white or cream-colored, asynchronous hatching small and equal openings mostly at dawn and dusk, hunts from elevated spot, then swoops sometimes winters in New York State,
migrations follow lemming four-year population cycle

Ears:
unequal = asymmetrical ear openings
equal = symmetrical ear openings

asynchronous = asynchronously, young hatch over an extended period of several days.

 

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