The Alabama owls are ferocious hunters designed for stealth and are nearly invisible in trees. Not only are they in our parks and forestry, but they are also in our neighborhoods; you may just not know it. Learning the types of owls in Alabama can be a fascinating journey, as we don’t often get to see them.
Then if you are fortunate enough to have an owl roost in your tree, you will be able to tell which owl has chosen your property as the perfect hunting ground. Some people will even erect owl houses and place them in their yards. They are fascinating to see, and they are excellent rodent control for any property.
In this educational article, Covenant Wildlife Removal introduces the seven types of owls in Alabama. Join us in our appreciation of the captivating owls of our beautiful state.
Getting to Know the Seven Species of Owls in Alabama
You may think all owls look alike. And they do have similarities. However, each owl is unique with its individual and elusive personalities and differing coloration and marks. Getting to know the seven species of Alabama owls will aid in identification if you happen to find one of these birds of prey keeping watch over your yard. So without further ado, here are the names of the seven:
- Barn Owl (pictured above)
- Barred Owl
- Eastern Screech Owl
- Great Horned Owl
- Long-Eared Owl
- Northern Saw-Whet Owl
- Short-Eared Owl
Now, stay tuned to learn about each owl and what they bring to the circle of life in our great state of Alabama.
Standing 12 to 16 inches in height, the Barn Owl is perhaps the more distinct of the seven species. Having a white heart-shaped face makes them the easiest to identify. The remainder of their bodies can be buff cinnamon, yellow gold, or rust color. Their wings are rounded, and their tails are square and shorter than others. Oddly enough, their eyes are relatively small; comparatively, that is.
The Barn Owl is strictly nocturnal and likes to nest in barns. So, if you happen to see one out lurking in the night, they are looking for a meal that consists of 4 small mammals each night. Those animals would include rats, mice, voles, and other rodents. In addition, they do not “hoot”; instead, they will scream, shriek, hiss, screech, and whistle.
The Barred Owl is around 16 to 20 inches in height with pale bellies, molted brown and white feathers, with a barred tail and wings. They are often called hoot owls and are the variety with piercing black eyes. These owls love watery places and hunt fish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and other birds.
Unlike other owls, you can hear this owl’s distinct cadence of hoots in the daytime. Additionally, if you think you hear these owls, you can easily call them closer if you know how to mimic the owls’ call.
Eastern Screech Owl
This little owl is only around 6 to 10 inches in height and is identified by the gray or red feathers, black-rimmed face, and ear tufts. Their bodies are short and stocky, and they appear to have no neck. The wings are spotted white, and the bellies are streaked.
Primarily active at night, these owls are abundant, making them easy to spot. The Eastern Screech has a softer hoot that sounds more like a whinnying horse than an owl.
Great Horned Owl
As one of the larger owl species, the Great Horned Owl stands 18 to almost 25 inches and is gray or orangish on top and barred on the belly. And they have a prominent tuft on their heads. Some say they resemble the face of a tiger or cat. Also, they are pretty standard in North America as they can live in various habitats. When you hear the well-known “hoot-hoot,” you most likely hear a Great Horned Owl in the trees. And nearby, you may hear a crow cawing. But the crow may want to quiet down because it is about to be lunch for the owl.
Slightly smaller in size than the Barred Owl is the Long-Eared Owl. It stands almost 14 to 16 inches tall, and it can be heard from up to a mile away. They have large tufts surrounding their heads and large circular red eyes. For these reasons, they are often called cat-owls. For their short stay in Alabama, this owl will borrow the nest of another bird.
Northern Saw-Whet Owl
Nocturnal Northern Saw-Whet Owls are hard to come across. They are a mere 7 to 8 inches in length, and their call sounds like a saw blade on a whetstone. These owls do not eat their meals whole like most owls. In fact, they tear their meals apart and eat them in two meals.
At 13 to almost 17 inches, the Short-Eared Owl likes open fields and even airports. They hunt in the early morning and at dusk, but they are pretty elusive. Unlike most owls, the Short-Eared Owl nests on the ground. So, although they are numerous in North America, they are in more danger from predators than those who nest in trees.
Fun Facts About Owls in Alabama
The four most common owls in Alabama are the barn owl, the barred owl, the great horned owl, and the screech owl. Here are some fun facts about owls you may not have known.
- Humans have only seven vertebrae in their necks. But owls have 14, making owls capable of turning their necks 270 degrees.
- Owls’ eyes are fixed in their heads, which may be why their necks move so far.
- An owl pellet is an undigested ball of animal parts. These pellets are helpful to scientists who wish to study the eating habits of the owls in the area.
- Owls’ wings are made of feathers specifically designed to alter air turbulence. That is how they fly so silently.
- Hunters will call owls to attract turkeys.
- An owl cannot carry away most pets. However, if you have kittens or a toy-sized dog, you may not want to leave them unattended when an owl is hooting above.
What to Do If an Owl Perches in Your Yard
Owls are excellent critter control for farms and more. They do this planet a great service in controlling the rodent population. However, if you happen to have a toy dog or just plain don’t want the owl there, getting rid of it can be tricky. Here are a few suggestions for owl control on your property.
- Avoid attracting other birds that may serve as a nice meal for the owls. Remove bird feeders and baths for now.
- Repetitive noise and light will annoy the owl and send it out of your yard. Make the same noise or shine a light each night for a while. Then they will get annoyed and fly off.
- Remove optimal nesting sites from the property. If you have a hole in the roof, close it off. Keep barns sealed off and clean out brush that may harbor rodents.
- Get all the rodents out of your yard. No scurrying meals equal no owls.
Furthermore, never shoot an owl. Permits are required and only in some instances. Permits are also necessary for trapping and relocation.
Covenant Wildlife Removal Deters Owls in Alabama
Do you have an owl issue on your property? Then you probably have a rodent issue too. Covenant Wildlife Removal is here for all your wildlife removal needs. We promise to use safe and humane methods whenever possible and abide by the local laws. Our team of expertly trained specialists is ready to help you reclaim your home when unwanted guests make their way onto your property.
Every day we remove nests, pests, and critters of all sorts from Georgia homes. There is just about nothing we have not seen or removed. And if the animal is protected, we can relocate the critter to a shelter or state-approved area for rehabilitation and relocation.
Do you have a nuisance critter or a particularly tricky bird problem? Click here for a free inspection with our expert team of wildlife removal specialists. Covenant Wildlife Removal will be there right away for all your pest removal needs.