13 Owls in Utah (With Pictures)

13 Owls in Utah (With Pictures)

Utah’s diverse and captivating landscapes serve as a habitat for a remarkable array of owl species, each embodying nature’s enigmatic charm. From the eerie yet majestic call of the Great Horned Owl echoing through the canyons to the elusive nature of the Northern Pygmy Owl, these avian predators weave an intricate tapestry within the state’s ecosystems.

This article delves into the secretive lives of Utah’s owls, unveiling their fascinating behaviors, unique adaptations, and the delicate balance they maintain in the region’s delicate ecosystems. Join us on a journey to explore the mysterious world of these nocturnal raptors and their vital role in Utah’s natural heritage.

1. Great Horned Owl

  • Scientific name: Bubo virginianus
  • Life span: 25 – 50 years
  • Size: 43 to 64 cm (17 to 25 in)
  • Weight: 1200 to 1600 g (2.64 to 3.52 lbs)
  • Wingspan: 91 to 153 cm (3ft 0in to 5ft 0in)
  • Status: Least Concern

Boasting brown-speckled plumage, the Great Horned Owl proves its adaptability across an assortment of landscapes – deserts, wetlands, grasslands, urban expanses, and forests. Under the shroud of night, these creatures expertly blend into their surroundings, concealing their presence.

Their dominion extends beyond North America, reaching as far south as Brazil. Contrary to their name, the owl’s “horns” are feathery tufts called plumicorns, their exact role—be it visual cues or avian interaction—lurking in ambiguity.

A suspicious-looking Great Horned Owl has spotted the cameraman

The Great Horned Owl, an early breeder in North America, initiates its selection process as early as January. Male owls take the lead in locating prime nesting spots, employing elaborate aerial displays and rhythmic stomping to court potential mates.

Rather than constructing their own nests, they opt for abandoned homes once occupied by larger birds like eagles and hawks. Their nesting sites are diverse, spanning from cliffs and caves to cacti.

These owls exhibit opportunistic predation, boasting adaptability in their hunting methods. In Utah, their diet shifts with seasons and prey availability, centering on small mammals such as voles, mice, and rabbits.

Their culinary preferences, however, extend beyond mammals to encompass birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Armed with sharp talons and beaks, they predominantly hunt under the veil of night.

Although not classified as a threatened species, the Great Horned Owl population in North America has markedly declined over the past forty years, largely due to human activities. An alarming 65% of owl fatalities stem from human actions, including shootings, trapping, vehicle collisions, power line electrocution, and poisoning through rat poisons.

Historically, farmers and hunters perceived these owls as pests for their predation on domestic chickens and small game, leading to centuries of hunting and illegal poaching that persists even today.

2. American Barn Owl

  • Scientific name: Tyto furcata
  • Life span: 10 years
  • Size: 34 to 38 cm (13 to 15 in)
  • Weight: 400 to 600 g (0.88 to 1.3 lbs)
  • Wingspan: 29 to 36 cm (11 to 14 in)
  • Status: Least Concern

The American Barn Owl is an enchanting and enigmatic avian, celebrated for its captivating and otherworldly visage. Preferring the shroud of night, this creature finds sanctuary within thick foliage or hollow tree trunks during daylight, reserving its nocturnal excursions for prowling after dusk.

A member of a subspecies encompassing the Western and Eastern Barn Owls, the American Barn Owl is distinguished by its remarkable physical attributes. Its upper body and wings sport a delicate tawny hue, while its countenance, chest, and underbelly radiate a lustrous white.

Evoking wonder, the owl’s distinct facial features have woven a tapestry of tales and legends, often depicting it as an ethereal or celestial being.

A curious American Barn Owl looking at something.

The American Barn Owl and its otherworldly look.

The American Barn Owl, a captivating and enigmatic nocturnal avian, shrouds its days amidst tree branches and vegetation, reserving its nightly hours for hunting. Between March and June, these owls establish lifelong monogamous bonds during nesting season.

The male diligently scouts for optimal nesting sites like tree cavities or cliffs, vigorously marking his territory through spirited aerial displays. Courtship entails chasing and graceful sweeps before mating.

Predominantly preying on diminutive mammals like voles, shrews, and mice in Utah, the American Barn Owl’s uniquely asymmetric ears grant it acute auditory precision, enabling it to locate prey using sound even in complete darkness.

A heightened metabolic rate necessitates a substantial food intake, mostly sourced from Utah’s agricultural landscape—primarily small rodents, while occasionally supplementing their diet with small birds and insects.

Although not globally endangered, the North American population of American Barn Owls has declined due to heightened pesticide and rodenticide usage. These chemicals infiltrate their food chain, resulting in significant mortalities. Despite these challenges, the species showcases resilience, displaying the capacity to rebound from these losses in the short term.

3. Short-eared Owl

  • Scientific name: Asio flammeus
  • Life span: 12 years
  • Size: 34 to 43 cm (13 to 17 in)
  • Weight: 206 to 475 g (7.3 to 16.8 oz)
  • Wingspan:  85 to 110 cm (33 to 43 in)
  • Status: Least Concern

The Short-Eared Owl holds a broad distribution, populating diverse landscapes around the globe. Noted for its compact ebony beak, mottled brown physique, and striking wings and tail adorned with conspicuous brown stripes, it bears distinctive traits. An intriguing departure from its nocturnal counterparts, this owl exhibits an uncommon trait—it favors diurnal hunting over nocturnal pursuits.

Short-eared owl

Throughout the breeding season, commencing in March, Short-Eared Owls partake in serial monogamy, forming alliances that persist for a single breeding cycle and cohabiting in groups. In a departure from conventional owl practices, these birds opt to establish their nests on ground-level terrain, favouring sparsely vegetated expanses like prairies, meadows, and tundras.

The Short-Eared Owl’s diet predominantly centers on diminutive mammals—voles, shrews, and rodents—while also embracing a diverse menu of reptiles, amphibians, insects, and avian fare such as sparrows and larks. Displaying opportunistic tendencies, these hunters execute low-altitude flights over grasslands, meadows, and open habitats during daylight hours to secure their prey.

Despite confronting habitat deterioration and vehicular collisions that have led to a decline in their population, the Short-Eared Owl is counteracting these challenges through global range expansion. As a result, its current status on the IUCN Red List is “Least Concern.”

4. Long-eared Owl

  • Scientific name: Asio otus
  • Life span: 10 to 27 years
  • Size: 31 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in)
  • Weight: 160 to 435 g (5.6 to 15.3 oz)
  • Wingspan: 86 to 102 cm (2ft 10in to 3ft 4in)
  • Status: Least Concern

Draped in a mosaic of brown and black plumage, the Long-eared Owl possesses a striking knack for seamlessly merging into the lush tapestry of pine tree foliage. With a widespread presence across the globe, this species boasts abundance. Its eerie calls, resonating up to a mile through dense woodland, bestow a distinctive and unmistakable auditory hallmark, a special auditory treat for those who venture into its dwellings.

This Long-Eared Owl seems like it was surprised by the cameraman.

During the breeding season, typically initiated in March, male Long-Eared Owls stake their claim through distinct songs and rhythmic wing-flapping, demarcating their territories. Unlike their owl counterparts, these birds forego nest construction, preferring hawk nests or hollow tree trunks as their abodes.

In sync with their avian kin, the Long-Eared Owl’s diet predominantly comprises small mammals—mice, voles, shrews, and rodents—alongside an eclectic mix of insects and diminutive birds. Gifted hunters, they exhibit the patience to await prey, either perched or navigating close to the ground in search of sustenance.

Though grappling with habitat degradation and vehicular hazards that erode their population, the Long-Eared Owl defies these challenges by expanding its global range. Despite such trials, the species garners “Least Concern” classification on the IUCN Red List. Their remarkable ability to blend and haunting calls render them a familiar and captivating presence amidst wooded realms.

5. Northern Saw-whet Owl

  • Scientific name: Aegolius acadicus
  • Life span: 7 to 17 years
  • Size: 17 to 22 cm (6.7 to 8.7 in)
  • Weight: 54 to 151 g (1.9 to 5.3 oz)
  • Wingspan: 42 to 56.3 cm (16.5 to 22.2 in)
  • Status: Least Concern

The Northern Saw-Whet Owl, a petite avian species prevalent across North America, including Utah, is celebrated for its elusive demeanor. Distinctive in appearance, this owl showcases a circular, cream-colored countenance embellished with intricate brown streaks, complemented by a keen ebony beak and captivating yellow eyes.

Delicate brown embellishments grace its light white underbelly, while its dorsal area and wings exhibit a rich brown hue peppered with luminous white spots. The appellation “Northern Saw-Whet Owl” is conjectured to derive from its unique call, reminiscent of the rhythmic resonance of a saw being honed on a whetstone.

A close-up photo of the shy Northern Saw-Whet Owl

The Northern Saw-Whet Owl, a diminutive avian, engages in monogamous partnerships during the breeding season, commencing around March. However, during periods of ample prey availability, males may forge bonds with multiple females. Utilizing pre-existing hollows like those carved by woodpeckers or artificial nest boxes, they establish nesting sites.

Within Utah, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl sustains itself primarily on small mammals—voles, mice, and shrews—augmented by insects, fellow birds, and other diminutive creatures. Proficient hunters, they employ keen talons and beaks to seize their quarry, manoeuvring effectively even in confined spaces, and exhibiting the capacity to overpower prey larger than themselves.

Despite its ubiquity, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl confronts threats from habitat erosion and rivalry for nesting havens posed by other birds and squirrels. The species, given its small stature, also falls prey to larger avian predators. Nevertheless, it retains a status of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

6. Burrowing Owl

  • Scientific name: Athene cunicularia
  • Life span: 6-8 years
  • Size: 8-11 inches (20-28 cm)
  • Weight: 5.3-8.5 oz (150-240 g)
  • Wingspan: 20-24 inches (51-61 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern

The Burrowing Owl, an exceptional and captivating species, graces landscapes spanning North and South America. Distinguished by their petite stature and elongated legs, these owls are frequently associated with occupying burrows excavated by prairie dogs and similar subterranean creatures.

An intriguing feature of these birds is their diurnal and nocturnal activity, presenting an engaging spectacle for avid bird enthusiasts. A curious quirk of the Burrowing Owl involves adorning their burrows with organic materials like manure and animal dung, a tactic aimed at enticing insects, their favored prey, which they adeptly capture and consume.

A Burrowing Owls peeking out from its hole

The Burrowing Owl, an enthralling avian species present in Utah, boasts a distinctive nesting behavior, meticulously crafting subterranean dwellings or repurposing abandoned burrows left by prairie dogs and other rodents. These burrows furnish a safeguard against predators and inclement weather, a vital shelter for the owls.

Their diet spans a diverse spectrum, encompassing insects, small mammals, and reptiles. With their striking white eyebrows and piercing yellow eyes, these birds emit unique vocalizations akin to a dog’s bark.

Over the years, the Burrowing Owl has grappled with substantial conservation hurdles. In Utah, the encroachment of human development and habitat depletion have wrought population declines. However, robust conservation endeavours have emerged to revitalize their habitats. Conservation groups have orchestrated the creation of artificial burrows and nesting locales, establishing secure and suitable havens for these creatures.

In the annals of conservation, the Burrowing Owl once bore the weight of threatened status in Utah. Yet, propelled by formidable conservation initiatives, their numbers have reached a stabilizing plateau, prompting a removal of their threatened classification.

Despite these strides, the Burrowing Owl persists in navigating formidable conservation trials, compelling the dedication of wildlife advocates. Globally, they garner the classification of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

7. Flammulated Owl

  • Scientific name: Psiloscops flammeolus
  • Life span: 6-8 years
  • Size: 6-7 inches (15-18 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-2.2 oz (31-62 g)
  • Wingspan: 14-17 inches (36-43 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern

The Flammulated Owl, a diminutive and unobtrusive avian, resides within the intricate depths of North American forests. Cloaked in reddish-brown plumage and framed by dark, penetrating eyes, they expertly meld with their environment, rendering spotting a challenge, as depicted in the accompanying image.

The origins of their name trace back to the Latin term “flammula,” signifying “little flame,” an allusion to the minute flame-like patterns adorning their feathers. Underlying their unpretentious demeanor and modest size, the Flammulated Owls project a unique vocalization, releasing a sequence of hoots reminiscent of a bounding ball’s cadence.

A Flammulated Owl hiding in a hole in a tree

During their breeding season, these owls uphold monogamous partnerships and establish their nests within tree cavities, occasionally repurposing old woodpecker boreholes. The female lays a clutch of 2-4 eggs, attended to by both parents during an incubation period lasting around a month. Post-hatching, the fledglings are nurtured by both parents until achieving independence at approximately four weeks old.

The dietary preferences of the Flammulated Owl center primarily on insects, encompassing moths, beetles, and grasshoppers. Occasionally, they display versatility by consuming small rodents and birds. Their hunting expeditions unfold predominantly under the cover of night, with acute eyesight and exceptional hearing employed to ensnare prey.

Amidst the Utah landscape, Flammulated Owl populations have waned due to the twin pressures of habitat loss and fragmentation, resulting in their classification as a species of concern within the state.

Countermeasures, such as habitat restoration initiatives and the installation of nesting boxes, have been executed to safeguard these unique and invaluable avians. However, their status on the IUCN Red List remains “Least Concern.”

8. Northern Pygmy Owl

  • Scientific name: Glaucidium gnoma
  • Life span: 7-10 years
  • Size: 6-7 inches (15-18 cm)
  • Weight: 2.1-2.5 oz (60-70 g)
  • Wingspan: 14-16 inches (36-41 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern

The Northern Pygmy Owl, a compact and charming owl species, graces landscapes spanning the breadth of North America, from the expanse of Alaska to the vibrancy of Mexico. With its hallmark features, including a rounded cranium, resplendent yellow eyes, and a strikingly dark beak, this owl exhibits a distinct countenance.

The coloration of the Northern Pygmy Owl’s plumage is dictated by its environment, shifting from shades of gray to tones of brown and white. Renowned for their resolute hunting prowess, these owls have been observed successfully predating on avian quarry much larger than themselves, a roster that includes quails and jays.

Northern Pygmy Owl

Typically, these owls select natural hollows, abandoned woodpecker nests, and at times, nesting boxes as their abodes. A clutch of 3-7 eggs is carefully incubated for around a month, followed by approximately four weeks of nest-bound juvenile development prior to fledging.

Within the realm of Utah, the Northern Pygmy Owl demonstrates a versatile palate, encompassing a medley of prey such as small birds, mammals, and insects. Similar to the Short-Eared Owl, these birds possess adeptness in both diurnal and nocturnal hunting, a strategic edge when pursuing their quarry.

Regrettably, the Northern Pygmy Owl faces the threat of dwindling numbers within Utah, ascribed to habitat degradation from human activities and the resulting fragmentation, further exacerbated by climate change.

Notwithstanding conservation endeavours, the population of these owls within Utah remains at a diminutive level, mandating sustained dedication to ensure their survival. Globally, however, the Northern Pygmy Owl retains a “Least Concern” status as per the IUCN.

9. Western Screech Owl

  • Scientific name: Megascops kennicottii
  • Life span: 6-8 years
  • Size: 8-10 inches (20-25 cm)
  • Weight: 4.3-8.6 oz (122-244 g)
  • Wingspan: 18-24 inches (46-61 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern

The Western Screech Owl, a compact and robust owl species, graces the expanse of western North America, spanning from Mexico to Canada. Adorned with unmistakable ear tufts, striking yellow eyes, and a tapestry of mottled brown and grey plumage, they offer a captivating visual spectacle.

Remarkably, despite their diminutive size, these owls wield a robust call that resounds across distances, a surprising feat. Adding to their charm, Western Screech Owls possess a distinctive call reminiscent of a bouncing ball or a hushed whistle, contributing to their unique allure.

A Western Screech Owl well camouflaged on a dead tree trunk

Western Screech Owls exhibit a penchant for nesting within cavities, often favouring natural tree hollows or abandoned woodpecker nests. The ingenious utilization of man-made nest boxes is also within their repertoire.

As winter wanes and spring beckons, the breeding season takes flight, with late incubation and the laying of 2-4 eggs by the female. A cooperative incubation duty is undertaken by both parents, culminating in hatching approximately 30 days later. After an additional span of around 30-35 days, the fledgling phase commences.

In the Utah landscape, Western Screech Owls showcase a diverse culinary taste, encompassing insects, small mammals, avian counterparts, reptiles, and even spiders and scorpions. Masters of opportunity, they forage in accordance with the offerings of their habitat.

Alas, Utah’s Western Screech Owl population has encountered decline, a casualty of habitat erosion and deterioration. The detrimental impact of pesticides further exacerbates their plight. Conservation endeavours encompass habitat preservation and revival, coupled with the strategic installation of nest boxes.

Legal protections extend to these owls under both state and federal statutes. While their global status is free from immediate threat, Western Screech Owls are classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

10. Snowy Owl

  • Scientific name: Bubo scandiacus
  • Life span: 9-10 years
  • Size: 20-28 inches (52-71 cm)
  • Weight: 3.5-6.5 lb (1600-2950 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.2-4.8 ft (130-150 cm)
  • Status: Vulnerable

The Snowy Owl reigns as a regal and emblematic presence amidst the Arctic tundra, showcasing a dramatic visage characterized by immaculate white plumage and vivid, penetrating yellow eyes. These awe-inspiring avians find their realm across the northern expanses of North America, Europe, and Asia.

Setting them apart from their owl peers, Snowy Owls possess feathers adorning their legs and feet, an adaptive attribute that aids in thermal regulation and safeguards their extremities from the unforgiving cold. Further enhancing their allure, these magnificent beings possess remarkable auditory prowess, enabling them to discern prey even within the shrouds of dense snow layers.

This guy seems to be angry at someone

Snowy Owls establish their nests at ground level, frequently selecting minuscule elevations nestled within the expansive tundra. On occasion, they make use of natural recesses in the earth, although a more typical choice involves repurposing vacated nests from fellow avians like Arctic Terns or other shorebirds.

Displaying a monogamous inclination, these majestic creatures often revisit the same nesting grounds in consecutive years.

The primary sustenance of these magnificent birds centers on lemmings, yet their diet occasionally extends to encompass rodents, birds, and fish. Their adaptable nature renders them opportunistic hunters, adept at acclimating and seizing available food sources within their environment.

Regrettably, Snowy Owls have earned the designation of “Vulnerable” from the IUCN, a status attributed to diminishing populations in specific locales. This plight is attributed to the dual challenges of habitat reduction and the impact of climate change, which have wrought considerable disruption within their native habitats.

Furthermore, history bears witness to the exploitation of these splendid creatures, as they were once hunted for their prized feathers, sought after for clothing and ornamental accoutrements.

11. Boreal Owl

  • Scientific name: Aegolius funereus
  • Life span: 8-10 years
  • Size: 8-10 inches (22-27 cm)
  • Weight: 3.5-7.5 oz (100-210 g)
  • Wingspan: 20-24 inches (51-61 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern

The Boreal Owl, recognized alternatively as Tengmalm’s Owl, emerges as a diminutive and enigmatic entity inhabiting the boreal woodlands of North America and Eurasia. Embracing a nocturnal existence, these avians exhibit captivating yellow eyes and a rounded head adorned with a distinctive facial disc, an adaptation that aids them in pinpointing prey within the obscurity of night.

Remarkably, the Boreal Owls possess an exceptional auditory faculty, with one ear positioned higher on their head than the other, furnishing them with unparalleled precision in discerning the location of their quarry.

An angry-looking Boreal Owl sitting in the snow

Boreal Owls display a nesting strategy cantered around cavities, relying on tree hollows or repurposing nests crafted by fellow avians. In the Utah domain, their nesting inclinations align with abandoned woodpecker holes, commonly discovered within well-established forests boasting a blend of coniferous and deciduous trees. Their typical clutch encompasses 4-6 eggs, attended to by an incubation period spanning roughly 28 days.

A prevalent component of the Boreal Owl’s diet comprises diminutive rodents, chiefly voles and mice, although their culinary repertoire extends to encompass shrews, avian prey, and insects. Engaging in low-altitude flights near the earth’s surface, they rely on acute auditory perception to detect the sounds emitted by potential victims. Upon pinpointing their quarry, they engage in rapid dives, employing their razor-sharp talons to ensnare unsuspecting prey.

In the context of Utah, the Boreal Owl occupies a status of concern due to the twin threats of habitat degradation and fragmentation. Activities such as logging, wildfires, and the evolving climate have collectively impinged upon the vitality of mature forests—key to the owl’s nesting and foraging endeavours.

Within Utah’s boundaries, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act safeguards these owls, rendering it unlawful to inflict harm or disturbance without proper authorization. Active initiatives center around habitat preservation and restoration within the state, spotlighting forest management practices that prioritize the conservation of aged woodlands. On a global spectrum, the Boreal Owl garners a classification of “Least Concern” as per the IUCN.

12. Great Grey Owl

  • Scientific name: Strix nebulosa
  • Life span: 10-15 years
  • Size: 24-33 inches (61-84 cm)
  • Weight: 2-3.3 pounds (0.9–1.5 kg)
  • Wingspan: 53-60 inches (135-152 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern

With its expansive geographical range spanning North America and Eurasia, the Great Grey Owl casts an imposing presence in dense boreal forests. Its formidable size and distinctive appearance, characterized by its broad facial disk, give it an air of gravitas. Renowned for its incredible hearing, this owl can detect prey beneath layers of snow.

A fun fact lies in its striking, asymmetrical ear positioning, a trait that enhances its exceptional hunting acumen.

Great Grey Owl sitting on a log

Utah’s Great Grey Owls exhibit practical nesting practices that align with their environment. These birds often seek shelter within tree cavities or repurpose abandoned woodpecker nests. Their nesting choices reflect an adaptive strategy, offering protection and concealment for their young. This behavior underscores their role as avian inhabitants that contribute to the balance of Utah’s ecosystems.

The dietary choices of Great Grey Owls in Utah shed light on their ecological role. These owls primarily consume small rodents like voles and mice, contributing to natural pest control. Their predation extends to avian prey and insects, showcasing adaptability in their feeding behavior. By maintaining a varied diet, these owls contribute to the stability of Utah’s wildlife interactions.

The conservation trajectory of Great Grey Owls in Utah reflects a blend of historical shifts and modern endeavours. Habitat preservation and restoration have been key focal points, influenced by the birds’ sensitivity to human activities. Understanding their conservation history highlights the need for collaborative efforts to ensure the continued presence of these owls in Utah’s ecosystems.

13. Mexican Spotted Owl

  • Scientific name: Strix occidentalis lucida
  • Life span: 10-15 years
  • Size: 16-19 inches (41-48 cm)
  • Weight: 1-1.5 pounds (0.45-0.68 kg)
  • Wingspan: 36-44 inches (91-112 cm)
  • Status: Near Threatened

Inhabiting the woodlands of southwestern North America, including Mexico, the Mexican Spotted Owl presents a captivating visage with its richly mottled plumage and striking brown eyes. Its intricate pattern of spots and streaks is an entrancing sight against the forest backdrop. Remarkably, it relies on silent flight, a stealthy technique that allows it to glide through its habitat without detection. A delightful quirk is its tendency to be most active during twilight hours, showcasing its adaptability to both day and night.

A Mexican Spotted Owl hiding amongst the trees

Mexican Spotted Owls, residents of Utah’s diverse landscapes, exhibit nesting practices that align with their surroundings. These owls often select sheltered ledges or utilize natural cavities, with a penchant for repurposing abandoned niches. These choices reflect their adaptability to rugged terrains and contribute to their role in maintaining ecological balance within Utah’s varied habitats.

The dietary habits of Mexican Spotted Owls in Utah offer a glimpse into their ecological niche. Their primary diet comprises small mammals like rodents, which assists in controlling local pest populations. These owls also partake in avian prey and, on occasion, insects, showcasing their versatile foraging behavior. By embracing dietary diversity, these owls play a significant role in Utah’s intricate food web.

The conservation journey of Mexican Spotted Owls in Utah mirrors historical shifts and modern conservation initiatives. Protecting and restoring their habitats has been a central focus, influenced by the impact of human activities. By tracing their conservation history, we gain insights into the ongoing collaborative efforts needed to ensure the presence of these owls within Utah’s ecological tapestry.

Where to look for Owls in Utah

Finding owls in Utah offers a captivating opportunity to connect with nature’s enigmatic creatures. While owls inhabit diverse landscapes, certain habitats enhance your chances of successful sightings. Exploring these habitats during twilight hours or dawn can provide rewarding experiences.

  • Canyon Country: Utah’s iconic canyons, like Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, offer suitable habitats for owls. Venture along the edges of canyon walls or hike trails leading to forested pockets. Listen for distinctive hoots that echo amidst the rugged terrain.
  • Mountainous Regions: The Wasatch and Uinta Mountains are known owl haunts. Embark on hikes through coniferous forests, keeping an ear out for owl calls. Higher elevations often harbour species like the Great Grey Owl.
  • Wetlands and Riparian Areas: Locations such as Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the Provo River Parkway provide rich hunting grounds for owls. Visit these spots during twilight to witness their transition from daytime slumber to nighttime activity.
  • Desert Oases: Places like Antelope Island State Park and Escalante Petrified Forest State Park offer unique desert environments. Look for owls perched atop desert shrubs or within crevices.

To enhance your chances of owl encounters, employ quiet observation techniques. Bring along binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens for respectful distance. Be patient and attune your senses to subtle movements or calls.

Remember, owls are most active during dusk and dawn, so plan your visits accordingly. Respecting their habitats ensures minimal disturbance and contributes to their conservation.


In the vast tapestry of Utah’s landscapes, owls stand as emblematic creatures, weaving tales of mystery and resilience. Their presence, whether perched amidst canyons, concealed in forests, or gracing wetlands, offers a glimpse into the delicate harmony of nature.

As twilight descends and dawn breaks, the hoots and calls of these enigmatic beings remind us of the intricate interconnectedness that binds all life. With careful observation and conservation, we can ensure that the nocturnal symphony of Utah’s owls continues to resonate through generations, a timeless testament to the state’s rich biodiversity.

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1 comment
  • I live in a small community with much agriculture around me and want to attract owls to my property. I live in Sevier County at 5500 feet elevation. What owls should I attempt to attract with making a owl house?