Owls of Michigan

Owls have been one of my favorite birds ever since I dissected an owl pellet in 4th grade.  Even though they are one of favorite birds I realized that I didn’t know very much about the owls native to Michigan so I dug up some information about the owls of our state.

The Barn Owl- This owl can be found in many states across North America.  Other names for this owl include the Church Owl, the Golden Owl, and the Stone Owl.  The Barn Owl is usually white and brown with a heart shape on it’s face.  These owls choose one mate for life, have a very keen sense of sight and hearing , and normally hunt at night.  Female Barn Owls usually lay 4-6 eggs per mating season and incubate the eggs for about a month.  According to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection,  “A family of 2 adults and 6 young may consume over 1,000 rodents during the 3-month nesting period.”

The Barred Owl- This owl is rather large and is most abundant in Canada, northern Michigan, and the eastern United States.  It goes by many other names such as the Striped Owl, the Wood Owl, and the Hoot Owl.  It has a light colored face with dark rings around the eyes, a yellow beak, and pitch black eyes.  The Barred Owl usually makes it’s home out of hollowed out cavities in trees.  You can see this owl all year long in the state of Michigan.

The Eastern Screech Owl- This is a rather small owl breed.  The heads of these owls are usually a rusty brown or gray color with a lighter colored body.  These birds have excellent hearing, can see extremely well at night, and have bright yellow eyes.  They hunt at dusk and during the overnight period.  The Eastern Screech Owl eats mainly insects, rodents, and small birds.  This owl can be found in Michigan’s lower peninsula all year long.

The Great Horned Owl- This owl species is one of the most common owls in North America.  One of the distinct features of this owl are the ear tufts that stick up on each side of the head.  These birds hunt at night, normally preying on mammals like rats, mice, rabbits, and even skunks.  This is one of the few types of owls that can’t turn their heads all the way around.  This owl has excellent hearing and can sense a mouse under a foot of snow.  Another amazing fact about this owl is that they may freeze uneaten food, thawing it later with their own body heat!  This owl can be found all throughout the state all year lonng.

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