A beautiful and rare sight, owls have long been a heavy favorite not only in the active birding community but with people in general. Given their reclusive nature and majestic presence there truly is something special about spotting an owl in the wild.

Counts indicate that there are over 200 species of owls on our planet today, but here in North America, we are only privy to 19 of those species, including favorites like the Eastern-screech Owl, Barred Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl and the Snowy Owl. The calls and screeches of these species of owls are exciting to hear, with many folks becoming experts in the calls of their local species hoping to catch a glimpse of one in their natural habitat.

Equipped with large eyes and silent flight, these raptors are not only pleasing to the eyes of bird enthusiasts but also play an important role in controlling the rodent population in your area. Resident owls can quickly curb the squirrel and mouse population in their area, and also do not eat any birdseed, leaving the lion share for your other backyard bird residents.

 

If you have been lucky enough to spot an owl in and around your home, there are a few things you can do to make them feel at home and encourage them to stick around. Shelter is a big one. Large, mature trees that boast thick and strong trunks are a great spot for owls to roost during the daylight hours. You can also invest in an owl nest box to help encourage residency nearby, but be sure to place your nesting box in a sheltered, shaded and quiet area. Providing a safe haven, owls can take advantage of during the day is key to keeping them around.

Although not traditional backyard birds, arming yourself with enough knowledge can aid you in finding local owls while out in the field, or keep them close by your home when spotted. Learning about possible species in your area and their associated calls can help you hone in on this elusive raptor for an unforgettable experience.

As always, let us know what owls you might be hearing or seeing in your neck of the woods, we would love to hear about it and why you love owls!