What Owls Are In Wisconsin? (A Comprehensive Guide)

Wisconsin is home to many different species of wildlife, including various species of owls.

With the many different types of owls that inhabit the state, it can be difficult to identify which ones you might see in your backyard.

To help you become an expert on Wisconsin’s owls, we have put together this comprehensive guide.

Here, you will learn about the different species of owls in Wisconsin, their habitats, and how to identify them.

So, let’s take a closer look at Wisconsin’s owls!

What Owls Are In Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is home to an array of owl species, from the Great Horned Owl to the Barred Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Snowy Owl, Screech Owl, Boreal Owl, and Northern Hawk Owl.

All of these birds have unique characteristics and behaviors, as well as distinct calls and plumage.

The Great Horned Owl is the most common species in Wisconsin, found in a variety of habitats, from mature forests to open fields and wetlands.

They are easily distinguishable by their dark, mottled plumage and large, bright yellow eyes.

Their iconic hoot call is often heard at night.

The Barred Owl is another permanent resident of the state, preferring to live in mature forests near rivers and streams.

These medium-sized birds have a large round head and are recognizable by their distinct barred plumage and yellow eyes.

Long-eared Owls, although rarer in Wisconsin, can still be found in certain areas.

These secretive birds prefer the same habitats as Great Horned Owls and can be identified by their long, pointed ear tufts and yellow eyes.

Short-eared Owls, also rare in Wisconsin, inhabit open grasslands and wetlands.

These small birds have yellow eyes and brown-streaked plumage.

Northern Saw-whet Owls are the smallest species of owl in Wisconsin and typically inhabit dense coniferous forests.

They are easily recognizable by their small size and yellow eyes, and can often be heard making their high-pitched toot call in the early morning or late evening.

Snowy Owls are a rare winter visitor to Wisconsin, residing in open fields and wetlands.

These large birds have white plumage and yellow eyes, and make an iconic hoo-hoo call.

Screech Owls are another rare species in Wisconsin, preferring to live in mature forests.

These small birds have yellow eyes and streaked plumage, and can often be heard calling at night.

Boreal Owls are a rare species in Wisconsin, living in coniferous forests.

They are small birds with yellow eyes and gray-brown plumage, and are easily recognizable by their loud, trilling calls.

Finally, the Northern Hawk Owl is a rare species in Wisconsin, typically found in open coniferous forests.

These medium-sized birds have yellow eyes and mottled gray-brown plumage, and are easily recognizable by their loud, screeching calls.

What Owls Are Most Common In Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is home to a range of owl species, including both those that reside there year-round and those that migrate.

The five most common owls in the state are the Barred Owl, the Great Horned Owl, the Northern Saw-whet Owl, the Eastern Screech-Owl, and the Long-eared Owl.

The Barred Owl is the most abundant of Wisconsin’s owls and can be found in both deciduous and coniferous forests.

It has a light gray or brownish-gray coloration with dark barring on its wings and tail.

Its distinct call is a hoot-hoot-hoot.

This species is active during both the day and night.

The Great Horned Owl is the largest of Wisconsin’s owls and is found in wooded areas near wetlands and rivers.

Its deep hoo-hoo-hoo call is heard at night, and its coloring is usually dark brown with white spotting.

Its most distinguishable feature is its large ear tufts.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is much smaller than the Great Horned Owl, and it can be found in coniferous forests in northern Wisconsin.

Its call is a toot-toot-toot, and its coloring is usually brownish-gray with white spotting, which often leads to it being mistaken for a young Great Horned Owl.

The Eastern Screech-Owl is another small owl, found in the deciduous forests of the state.

Its call is a trilling keee-oooo, and its coloring is gray or reddish-brown with white spotting.

It also has long ear tufts on its head.

The Long-eared Owl is a medium-sized species, found in both coniferous and deciduous forests.

Its call is a low hoo-hoo, and its coloring is brownish-gray, with long ear tufts on its head.

In conclusion, Wisconsin is blessed with a rich avian diversity due to the presence of these five common owl species, each of which has its own distinctive features.

What Kind Of Owls Hoot At Night?

Owls have captivated our attention and imaginations for centuries.

As nocturnal predators, they are most active at night, and so one of the most common experiences people have with owls is hearing them hoot.

Generally, larger species of owls, such as the Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, and Eastern Screech Owl, are the ones that call out in the evening and at night.

Owls may hoot for several reasons, like to establish their territories or to communicate with their mates and family members.

Additionally, some owl species hoot more than others.

For example, the Great Horned Owl is known for its deep, low-pitched hoots, while the Eastern Screech Owl emits a higher, more melodic sound.

Some owls may even hoot in a rhythmic pattern, creating an almost musical sound.

Listening to owls hoot at night is a magical experience.

It’s a reminder of the captivating beauty and mystery of nature, and of the power of something as simple as a hoot.

What Is The Small Owl In Wisconsin?

The Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) is a small species of owl found in various parts of the United States, including Wisconsin.

They have a rounded head with yellow eyes and are covered in buff-colored or grayish-brown feathers.

These owls are typically 8-10 inches in length, with a wingspan of 18-24 inches.

Eastern Screech Owls are active at night and feed on insects, small mammals, reptiles, and birds.

In Wisconsin, they can be found in wooded areas and open fields, such as woodlots, pastures, and old-growth forests.

They also nest in hollow trees, abandoned woodpecker holes, and nest boxes.

These owls are relatively common in Wisconsin and can be seen throughout the year.

Eastern Screech Owls have a number of interesting behaviors.

They make a trill or a series of hoots, and they can also make a clicking sound with their feathers.

Additionally, these owls have a distinctive flight pattern, often flying low and slowly with quick turns and dips.

In conclusion, the Eastern Screech Owl is an intriguing species of owl found in Wisconsin.

With its distinct features, unique behaviors, and year-round presence, this species is sure to captivate any wildlife enthusiast.

What Bird Screeches At Night In Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the most common bird that is known to screech at night is the Common Barred Owl.

This owl is native to the area and can be found in wetlands, forests, and even suburban areas.

It is identifiable by its brown and white markings, and its loud, distinctive hooting call which usually consists of eight to nine hoots.

The call of the Barred Owl can be heard up to a mile away, making it an important part of the natural soundscape in Wisconsin.

In addition to the Barred Owl, there are a few other birds in Wisconsin that can be heard at night.

The Great Horned Owl has a deep, long hoot and the Screech Owl has a higher-pitched call.

Both of these can be heard in the Wisconsin countryside at night.

Overall, the most common bird that screeches at night in Wisconsin is the Barred Owl.

This owl is identifiable by its loud hooting call and can be heard up to a mile away.

Other birds that can be heard in Wisconsin at night include the Great Horned Owl and the Screech Owl.

What Month Are Owls Most Active?

Owls are nocturnal creatures and their activity levels vary greatly depending on species and geographic location.

In the Northern Hemisphere, their peak activity occurs in March and April, when they are breeding and raising their young.

They are actively searching for food, establishing territories, and trying to attract mates.

In the Southern Hemisphere, breeding season is shifted to the late summer and early fall months, with peak activity in September and October.

During this time, owls are hunting and defending their territories.

Outside of breeding season, owls may still be active at night, but their activity is generally much lower.

For example, during the summer they may still hunt for food, but will be much less active than during peak breeding season.

What Time Of Day Are Owls Most Active?

Owls are nocturnal birds, meaning they are most active at night.

Usually, they are seen between dusk and dawn, and rarely during the day.

With some of the most impressive vision among birds, they can hunt and feed successfully even in the dark.

They also have exceptional hearing, allowing them to locate sound sources accurately.

The night is the most active period for owls.

During this time, they benefit from their large eyes and excellent vision to find food.

Their exceptional hearing is also used to locate food.

Additionally, the night is less likely to bring competition and predation from other animals.

However, owls are also capable of hunting during the day.

But, they are much less active during this period.

During the day, they are more visible to predators and competition, so it is less conducive to hunting.

Furthermore, their prey is also less active during the day, making hunting more difficult.

In conclusion, owls are most active during the night and least active during the day.

By utilizing the cover of darkness, they can hunt and feed more successfully.

What Owls Hoot In Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is home to a variety of owls, each with its own unique hoot.

During the winter months, the most common species you may hear are the Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, and Long-eared Owls.

The Great Horned Owl is one of the most widely distributed species in the world and has a low-pitched and loud who-who-who call.

Barred Owls are found in mature and near-mature forests and have a series of eight to nine hoots that slowly decrease in volume.

Long-eared Owls are rarely heard as they are quite secretive and roost during the day.

They are known for their long and drawn-out hoos.

In the summer, other species of owls can be heard, such as the Eastern Screech Owl and the Northern Saw-whet Owl.

The Eastern Screech Owl is a small, stocky bird with yellow eyes and a distinctive trill call.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a tiny owl with a loud, whistle-like song of high-pitched notes.

No matter the season, you can enjoy the beautiful hoots of these magnificent birds of prey in Wisconsin!

What Is The Most Aggressive Owl Species?

The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) is the most aggressive species of owl.

Found in North and South America, it is known for its intimidating yellow eyes, wide wingspan, and aggressive territorial behavior.

Great Horned Owls hunt by flying silently and then pouncing on their prey.

They have strong talons and powerful beaks, and they use the terrain to their advantage by remaining hidden before attacking.

Though they can be aggressive, Great Horned Owls also have a gentle side.

They are often seen nesting in pairs and caring for their young, and their hoots can be heard for miles.

They are considered beneficial to the environment, helping to keep populations of small mammals and other birds in check, as well as dispersing seeds.

Their presence signifies a healthy ecosystem.

In conclusion, the Great Horned Owl is an aggressive species, but one that also has a gentle side and offers numerous benefits to the environment.

What Are The Owls That Hoot?

Hooting owls are birds of prey found all around the globe.

Their distinct call, a low-pitched, loud sound, can be heard from far distances.

The most commonly seen hooting owl is the barred owl, native to North America, though many other species also hoot, such as the great horned owl, the barn owl, and the tawny owl.

Hooting is used by owls to communicate with each other, especially during mating season.

The male owl hoots to let the female know that he is nearby and to gain her attention.

The female then responds with her own hoot, which is usually higher in pitch.

This is a way for the two to bond, find each other in the dark, and is a form of courtship.

Owls also hoot to mark their territory.

By hooting, they are sending out a warning to possible rivals and aggressively defending their territory and mate during mating season.

Moreover, they hoot to alert other owls of danger and their presence.

The hooting of owls is a familiar sound of the night, heard in various habitats from forests to open fields.

It is a reminder of the natural beauty and mystery of the world.

What Owl Has 3 Hoots?

The Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) is a small owl found in coniferous and mixed forests across North America.

This owl is easily recognized thanks to its distinctive call, which consists of three hoots in rapid succession.

It measures 7-8 inches in length, with a wingspan of 16 inches, and its plumage is mostly mottled brown and white, with a pale face and yellow eyes.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is active during the breeding season from March to August, when its call can be heard at night.

During the winter months, it tends to be silent.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is an important part of North American ecosystems, as it helps to maintain the balance of prey and predator species.

It mainly feeds on small mammals such as mice, voles, and shrews, but also eats insects, birds, and other small animals.

This species is often found roosting in dense foliage or cavities in trees, and is believed to mate for life.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read our comprehensive guide, you’re an expert on the owls of Wisconsin! To take your newfound knowledge to the next level, practice spotting owls in their natural habitats or learn more about the conservation of these majestic birds.

You can also use our guide to identify the species of owls that you see in your backyard.

So, get out there and start exploring Wisconsin’s owls!


James is a curious and adventurous journalist who loves to research and write about birds. He is highly knowledgeable about bird behavior, anatomy, and conservation, and is passionate about helping protect them.He is also an avid reader, often spending hours reading scientific journals, bird-watching guides, and other literature related to birds.

Recent Posts