Owls in Connecticut are as mysterious as they are majestic. These nocturnal birds of prey can live in the state’s forests, fields, and wetlands – if you know where to look. Owls have been a part of Connecticut’s landscape for centuries, but their populations have decreased drastically in recent years due to changes in land use and increased human activity.
Different Species of Owls in Connecticut
Among the state’s many animal species are several different types of owls. These fascinating birds can be found in wooded areas throughout Connecticut, and they make for an exciting addition to evening walks and hikes.
Barred Owls are common birds of prey found in wooded areas throughout Connecticut. They are medium-sized owls with rounded heads and distinctive brown and white striped feathers. They have yellow eyes and relatively short tails compared to other species of owls, which helps them to maneuver easily through the dense forests they inhabit.
The Barred Owl is nocturnal, active around dusk, and hunting until early morning. It feeds on small mammals such as mice, rats, and squirrels, as well as amphibians like frogs and toads. These birds often give out their loud “who-cooks-for-you” call at night; males use this to attract mates or ward off competitors for nesting sites.
• Scientific Name: Strixvaria
• Length: 16-25 inches
• Weight: 16.6-37 ounces
• Wingspan: 38-49 inches
Eastern Screech-Owls in Connecticut
The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small, nocturnal owl found in Connecticut. Its distinct call and unique markings easily identify it. The Eastern Screech-Owl has two color variations – gray and red – seen in rural and urban areas throughout the state.
They inhabit woodlands near open fields, streams, or swamps and are often located in old trees with cavities for nesting sites. They feed on insects, small mammals, and other birds they hunt at night. During the day, they roost in dense vegetation or tree hollows to stay hidden from predators.
• Scientific Name: Megascopsasio
• Length: 6.3-9.8 inches
• Weight: 4.3-8.6 ounces
• Wingspan: 18-24 inches
Great Horned Owl
The Great Horned Owl is a magnificent bird of prey found throughout Connecticut. As one of North America’s most widespread predatory birds, it is an essential member of Connecticut’s diverse wildlife. Characterized by their distinct “hoot” call, piercing yellow eyes, and impressive wingspan, these owls have long been admired for their beauty and grace.
This majestic bird prefers to nest in large trees or rocky crevices but can also be found in woodlands, marshes, and meadows. The Great Horned Owls’ diet consists mainly of small mammals such as rodents and rabbits, though they are known to feed on fish, snakes, and other birds. It is a significant predator that helps keep small mammal populations in check while providing a unique opportunity for nature enthusiasts to observe this fascinating animal up close.
• Scientific Name: Bubo virginianus
• Length: 17-25 inches
• Weight: 32-88 ounces
• Wingspan: 3-5 feet
The snow has melted away, and the winter chill is starting to dissipate, but one reminder of the cold season still lingers in Connecticut. A snowy owl has been spotted in several areas across the state, delighting bird watchers and nature enthusiasts alike.
The elusive species usually resides much further north during the colder months, making its presence in Connecticut far from typical. Sightings have been reported near Saugatuck Reservoir as well as a few other locations throughout Fairfield County. The majestic creature can be seen soaring around with its wingspan measured at nearly five feet wide.
Due to their size and habit of roosting on high perches such as telephone poles, spotting one of these rare creatures is relatively easy for those who know what to look for.
• Scientific Name: Bubo scandiacus
• Length: 20-25 inches
• Weight: 2.9-5.5 pounds
• Wingspan: 46-65 inches
The Northern Hawk-Owl is a rare and majestic sight in Connecticut. Known for its sharp eyesight and nocturnal hunting habits, the Northern Hawk-Owl is an impressive raptor to behold. These birds of prey have been spotted throughout parts of the state, often in wooded areas where there’s a good supply of their target prey—small rodents and other small mammals. Even though they are rarely seen during the day, these beautiful creatures can be heard making their distinctive call at night.
The Northern Hawk-Owl has adapted to survive cold climates since they originate from boreal forests in Canada. Because of this adaptation, they are able to thrive during snowy Connecticut winters as long as there’s plenty of food available for them to hunt.
• Scientific Name: Surniaulula
• Length: 14.2-16.7 inches
• Weight: about 11 ounces
• Wingspan: about 18 inches
The burrowing owl is a species of owl that is often seen in different parts of the United States, including Connecticut. This type of owl primarily resides in open areas such as grasslands and deserts, but they have also been found living in urban settings.
They are small birds with long legs and large eyes that help them to spot their prey during the night. The burrowing owl’s diet consists mainly of insects and rodents, making it an important predator for controlling rodent populations.
• Scientific Name: Athenecunicularia
• Length: 7.5-11 inches
• Weight: 4.9-8.5 ounces
• Wingspan: 20-24 inches
Great Gray Owl
The Great Gray Owl—the largest owl species in North America—has recently been spotted in Connecticut, a rare occurrence for the species usually found in Canada and Alaska. The majestic bird, with its unusual yellow eyes and 5-foot wingspan, was seen soaring over forests near Hartford.
The sighting has caused a stir among ornithologists and birdwatchers alike, eager to catch another glimpse of the elusive owl. This is inspiring news because Great Gray Owls have never been known to breed east of the Mississippi River. However, researchers speculate that global warming has contributed to this new pattern.
In fact, sightings of other animals such as polar bears have also been reported out of their typical habitats suggesting that climate change may be affecting migratory patterns across the country.
• Scientific Name: Strixnebulosa
• Length: 24-33 inches
• Weight: 2.2-2.84 pounds
• Wingspan: about 5 feet
The Long-Eared Owl (Asiootus) is a classic species of owl that can be found in many parts of the world. This nocturnal bird is commonly seen in the northeastern United States, including Connecticut. They have large yellow eyes and long ear tufts that make them easily recognizable.
The Long-Eared Owl typically lives in open evergreen forests and is known to hunt for small mammals at night. It usually nests in abandoned crow or hawk nests, making it somewhat elusive when seeking out one of these birds. Despite their shyness, these owls can often be spotted during late summer months as they migrate through our state on their way south for winter.
• Scientific Name: Asiootus
• Length: 12-16 inches
• Weight: 7.8-15.3 ounces
• Wingspan: 34-40 inches
The Short-Eared Owl is one of the most impressive birds found in Connecticut. This medium-sized owl has a wingspan averaging between 18 and 24 inches, with its unmistakable yellow eyes and heart-shaped facial disk making it easily recognizable. These owls make their homes in open fields and marshes, typically living in areas near food sources such as meadows, grasslands, and prairies.
The Short-Eared Owls in Connecticut are relatively low compared to other owl species in the state. Despite this, the birds can still be spotted during migration periods when they travel through the form back from wintering grounds further south. During these times, birdwatchers should keep an eye out for them perched atop tall trees or hunting for prey over open fields just after sunrise or before sunset.
• Scientific Name: Asioflammeus
• Length: 13-17 inches
• Weight: 7.3-16.8 ounces
• Wingspan: 33-43 inches
The Boreal Owl is a rare breed of owl that has recently been spotted in Connecticut. Although these owls are native to Canada, some have been seen as far south as New England. They are typically found in boreal forests and prefer habitats such as coniferous forests and wetlands.
It has a distinct look compared to other species of owls due to its mottled grayish-brown coloration with white spots on its back and wings. It also has large yellow eyes which can help distinguish it from other species of owl. The bird typically measures 12-15 inches in length, making it one of the smaller species of owl found in North America.
• Scientific Name: Aegoliusfunereus
• Length: 8.7-10.6 inches
• Weight: 3.3-7.6 ounces
• Wingspan: 20-24 inches
Northern Saw-Whet Owl
The Northern Saw-Whet Owl is a small owl species seen in Connecticut annually. These nocturnal birds are found in wooded and urban areas of the state, typically avoiding open spaces. They have white underparts with brown barring, as well as bright yellow eyes and a rounded head without ear tufts.
These owls in Connecticut are usually seen perched on trees or fence posts searching for food during the night hours. Their diet consists of small mammals such as mice and voles along with insects, frogs and other invertebrates. They often use their sharp talons to capture prey while they search for food close to the ground or in low vegetation.
• Scientific Name: Aegoliusacadicus
• Length: 6.7-8.7 inches
• Weight: 1.9-5.3 ounces
• Wingspan: 16.5-22.2 inches
The Barn Owl’s distinguishing feature is its large, round face with heart-shaped white feathers around its eyes, giving it a unique look. The bird sports a distinctive mottled brownish-gray color that helps it blend into its environment. Its long wingspan allows it to soar through the air gracefully and quietly as it hunts for food at night or during early morning hours.
• Scientific Name: Tyto Alba
• Length: 13-15 inches
• Weight: 14.1-24.7 ounces
• Wingspan: 31-37 inches
The presence of owls in Connecticut is a welcomed sight. They are remarkable birds that can bring joy and amazement to those who observe them. Owls have a unique adaptation to their environment, which allows them to thrive as they hunt for food in the night sky. With any luck, their population will continue to expand and give people across Connecticut more opportunities to view these majestic creatures.
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