Awesome Owls

Barn Owl
Titus Pullo
Barn Owl

Owl Basics: Give a Hoot

There are 130 different kinds of owls found all over the world. They hunt in varied habitats, from the snow covered regions near the North Pole to deep forests near the tropics. You may also see them along highways or perched in a tree in a city park.

Owls range in size from the tiny Elf Owl, only 5.5 inches tall, to the huge Gray Owl of North America, which stands more than 2 feet high!

Owls and people have lived close together for a long time. Owls appear in cave paintings and in the myths of many languages. Yet humans have always had mixed feelings about them. We like owls because their faces remind us of human faces and we say they look "wise." However, there are still some people who are afraid of owls. The lives of these night hunters seem mysterious and their calls may terrify listeners who can't identify them.

Not only are owls great to look at, but they actually help humans. Researchers collected pellets of barn owls, analyzed them and kept records for many months. Results from this study showed that the barn owls ate small rodents of all kinds. Two parent owls and their six owlets ate 1,000 mice, shrews and rats during a three month period! And everyone knows how fast rodents reproduce; just imagine if we didn't have owls around to keep rodent numbers in check! Studies like this prove the helpful role that owls play in nature.

You can find this information on owls and more in the Audubon Adventures publications, content designed for school kids including games and quizzes. Order your owl packet from the Nature News Magazine category today!

Meet some members of the Owl family

Short-eared Owl
Spotted Owl

Elf Owl
Flammulated Owl

Barn Owl

Barred Owl
Eastern Screech-Owl

The more you learn about owls, the more fascinating they become, so check out our Owl Anatomy page to see what makes these birds such efficient hunters and flyers. Or learn how to build a Screech Owl Box to keep these night owls closer to home.

Parents: Check out our Audubon plushy owls, beanbag replicas with authentic recorded bird calls: Snowy Owl, and Northen Spot Owl.