Hello Readers! We have come up with another article on owls that are particularly found in the Washington State of the U.S. In one of our previous articles, we have already discussed how the size, colors, patterns, and vision can make an owl different from the other one. We have curated a list of 10 such owls in Washington State, that can be seen in Washington State. So, without any further delay, let’s discuss them in detail.
Owls In Washington State
1. The Great Horned Owl
The great horned owl, scientifically known as Bubo virginianus, is recognized by its prominent ear tufts. These tufts are similar to “horns” or cat ears. These chaparral animals can grow with a height of 20 inches and with a 48-inch wide wingspan, it has a dark brown body. Its upper body is full of black spots and it has pale brown underparts, featuring distinct dark brown bars and hence listed as one of the brown birds in the world. Not all subspecies of this owl are similar, some have a pale appearance. These owls of Southern California possess large yellow eyes. An intriguing feature is their ability to rotate their heads 270 degrees in either direction when facing forward. However, they are incapable of achieving a full 360-degree rotation.
Also Read: 10 Types Of Owls in Illinois
2. Northern Pygmy Owl
The Northern Pygmy-owl is scientifically known as Glaucidium gnoma. It is our smallest owl as it measures just 7 inches in height, including its long tail. This owl is often mistaken for another common brown bird in the brush due to its small size and various other reasons like proportionally small head, and daytime hunting habits. If you want to see this owl look out for it near your winter feeder. Taking advantage of its size, it fearlessly hunts small birds or mammals. The owl’s undersides have sharp streaks. The most distinctive markings are the black patches on the back of its head. These patches resemble eyes and act as a shield to deceive potential predators.
Also Read: 10 Types Of Owls in Illinois
3. Boreal Owl
Boreal Owls can be found throughout the year in the eastern half of Washington State. They inhabit dense mixed-wood and coniferous forests. They have mysterious personalities and are challenging to spot, especially during the day. These owls change roosting trees daily, making it even more difficult to find them. At night, they patiently await prey like small mammals and birds. Once they find that, they swoop them down and seize their meal with their talons. Boreal owls are typically quiet. However, the males become more vocal during the mating season as well as the winter months. They call frequently to attract mates.
Also Read: 10 Different Types Of Taiga Animals
4. Northern Spotted Owl
Spotted Owls reside in Washington State throughout the year, but spotting them is exceedingly rare. Their population has significantly declined due to the loss of habitat, especially trees. As far as the survival of these owls is concerned, Barred Owls make it very challenging for them. In terms of size, the northern spotted owl is smaller than the barred owl. have broad, rounded wings, short tails, and round heads. Their dark brown plumage is adorned with white dappling. Do you know what’s unique about them? Their facial disks feature a distinctive white “X” marking for identification. Like other owls, they are nocturnal species and hunt their prey at night.
Image Source: Jeffrey Haight
5. Northern Hawk Owl
Northern Hawk Owls are commonly found in Canada. They are non-breeding populations extending to most of Washington State. These owls are weird as they possess an owl’s appearance but show hawk-like behavior. They have medium-sized, oval-shaped bodies. Moreover, their wings are short and they have a long, pointed tail. Just like many other owls, they boast large, round heads with yellow eyes and white faces. However, quite opposite to the other owls, they are active during the day. Notably, you will find them active around dawn and dusk. They perch on trees and hunt their prey, much like hawks. Their exceptional eyesight allows them to spot prey from quite away, resembling the keen vision of hawks.
Image Source: Wikimedia
6. Burrowing owl
Burrowing Owls are more commonly seen in southern regions of America. They occasionally establish breeding populations in southeastern parts of Washington State that’s how they are known in this state. Speaking of their habitat, it consists of vast grasslands and prairies. Unlike the other desert birds, they choose to build their nests underground. For that purpose, they use dug-out burrows and dens. These creatures are clever, as the owls demonstrate intelligence by storing surplus food in these subterranean chambers. Do you know why? Because it provides sustenance during incubation and brooding periods.
7. Flammulated Owls
It is only during the breeding season that the Flammulated Owls are commonly found in eastern parts of Washington State. These owls exhibit a fairly widespread distribution. Despite their small size, they bear a resemblance to screech owls, which we have already talked about. It features shorter tufts on their heads. Spotting them can be challenging since their pale grey-brown plumage blends seamlessly with tree bark. These owls favor mature pine forests for their daytime roosting and nocturnal hunting activities.
Image Source: Wikimedia
8. Snowy Owl
Snowy Owls are not too commonly seen in Washington State and are one of the most popular tundra animals in the world. However, occasionally they visit the state during winter due to irruptive migrations. Throughout the rest of the year, these owls are mainly found in the arctic tundra and much of Canada. When they do pay a visit to the state, they tend to roam in open spaces such as fields. Snowy Owls are one of the winter animals that are visually distinct from other owls. Do you know how? Interestingly, these beautiful white birds are snow-white plumage that covers their large and round bodies, which is not commonly seen in other owls. Females typically display more black and dark brown markings scattered across their bodies. On the other hand, males have fewer markings. Both genders have deep yellow eyes.
9. Great Gray Owl
Here’s another type of owl that can be frequently seen in Washington. Throughout the entire year, Great Gray Owls can be spotted in the eastern half of Washington State. These impressive owls are renowned for their large size. Besides, they have broad wings and lengthy tails. Interestingly, these features make them one of the tallest owl species in America. Their unique facial appearance is characterized by small, closely spaced eyes within big facial disks. Do you know what is so unique about them? They have a distinctive white “X” pattern on their faces. Their bodies are adorned with fluffy, silvery gray feathers, which complement their name.
10. Northern Saw-Whet Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owls are present year-round in most of Washington State. Although certain areas only host non-breeding populations of these owls, they are not that rare to trace. They prefer to inhabit dense coniferous forests and groves. It is important to note that locating them can be challenging due to their small size, camouflage-like coloration, and elusive behavior. They can hide very easily, so you need to have an eye to catch them.
These are the 10 types of owls in Washington State. Kindly share and do post your comments.