Incredibly Beautiful Birds of Prey

Meet the Owls

You are more likely to hear an owl than to see one! Most of these birds of prey are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. About 180 species, or different types of owls exist, and 18 live in the US and Canada. The majority of owls can be classified into the group called true or typical owls with varied sizes, round faces, large heads, and short tails. Some are barn owls with medium-sized bodies, heart-shaped faces, and huge wing spans. Owls range in height from from the 5 inch elf owl to the 33 inch great gray owl! There is much to learn about these incredible birds!


  • Huge, sharp eyes see long distances even at night
  • Flexible necks help them spy in all directions
  • Large, powerful ear holes detect tiny faraway sounds
  • Naturally colored feathers help them camouflage
  • Strong wings of soft feathers fly silently for sneak attacks
  • Light, hollow bones make flight easy
  • Sharp talons and beaks grab and pierce prey (snakes, rodents, birds...)
  • Can swallow prey whole and cough up pellets


  1. Roosts-nests in trees or burrows underground
  2. Females lay 2-8 white eggs and incubate them
  3. Chicks/owlets hatch in about 3-5 weeks
  4. Males hunt and feed the family
  5. At 1 month downy chicks grow feathers and can fly and hunt
  6. At 4 or 5 months chicks can live on their own


  • In ancient times there were fearful owl superstitions.
  • Owls have been hunted for sport in many countries.
  • Chemicals and polluted water make owls sick.
  • Lumber companies and builders chop trees.


  • People now know owls control rodent

and insect populations.

  • Laws today protect owls from hunters.

  • Now there are conservation groups and

nature preserves to save some species.

  • People find owls interesting to study.


1. Scientists believe owls have been around for about 65 million years!

2. A group of owls is called a parliament, but they're not British.

3. Large owls can live nearly 30 years in the wild.

4. Owls can even hear small animals underground!

5. Most owls mate for life.

6. People who stay up late are called "night owls."