A Look at the Different Types of Owls in Florida

Updated on April 22, 2018
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has been around animals since she was a little girl. She lived on a farm for over fifteen years. She likes writing about animals.

An eastern screech owl commonly found in the state of Florida.
An eastern screech owl commonly found in the state of Florida. | Source

Owl Inspiration in Florida

Do you want to learn about the different types of owls in Florida? The owls in Florida are not only majestic, they are beautiful. Have you seen an owl close to your home in the state of Florida?

Just recently my family and I discovered a family of owls living in the oak tree in our backyard. We had seen the father owl perched upon a ladder in our neighbor's backyard the weekend prior to when my husband noticed the whole family hanging out on a branch the following weekend. We both were immediately fascinated by these wise, majestic creatures and so I've been inspired to write a hub about the different types of owls in Florida.

Our Family of Florida Screech Owls

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Screech Owls

The owls who've made their humble abode in our backyard tree are in fact Screech Owls. They are some of the tiniest owls in North America, and in my opinion, the cutest. They are small, gray owls (they can sometimes be brown or a reddish-brown color) with fluffy ear tufts that usually occupy nests perched upon tall branches.

What I found most endearing about this type of owl is that they are generally speaking monogamous animals. They find a mate and tend to stay with their mates for life, though sometimes the male owl will mate with a second female owl.

When it comes to the family of owls in our backyard, there was most definitely a father, a mother, and a baby owl. My daughter referred to them as "hoots", instead of "owls". A pretty cool fact about screech owls is that the male owls are known to each from 25% to 33% of their body weight in a single day! They tend to feed on smaller animals, such as rodents and even small birds such as songbirds, but the songbirds have been known to kick screech owls out of their own nests on occasion.

We haven't seen our family of screech owls lately, so I wonder if it was the squirrels (the screech owls' nemesis) or the songbirds who ran them out of their comfy nest in the oak tree.

Florida's Great Horned Owl

Florida Great Horned Owl
Florida Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl in flight
Great Horned Owl in flight

Great Horned Owl

Florida's largest type of owl is the Great Horned Owl, which can stand to a maximum height of two feet tall, with the females being larger than the males. Great Horned Owls are also known as Tiger Owls, due to their markings and their size. Their technical name is the Great Horned Owl due to their large tufts of feathers protruding from their ears that appear to be like horns. The "Great" part of their name, I would assume to be in reference to their immense size as compared to other owls in North America and the state of Florida.

Residence taken by the Great Horned Owls is almost always in trees, but range from the most dry desert climates (out west) to Florida's subtropic climate. These owls are adaptable and more-or-less ultimate survivors of the owl species. Their prey includes all small to small-medium sized animals, and in Florida includes armadillos, lizards, raccoons, rats, squirrels, mice, moles, bats, shrews, muskrats and weasels. Old Wives' tales even tell of the Great Horned Owl of the Southern states making off with domesticated cats and puppies!

Whatever their predatory and survival instincts in Florida or elsewhere in the Americas, the Great Horned Owl gives off the energy of the wisest and toughest owl this side of the Atlantic Ocean.


Florida's Barn Owl

What is it about the barn owl in Florida that makes me want to cry? Their sweet, sympathetic faces seem to talk to me in a way that no other bird has before. I feel like Florida's barred owls have the ability to look right through us...to see to the depths of our souls. However crazy that may sound, there is something truly magical about the Florida Barred Owl.

This type of owl is the most widespread and is also known as the Common Barn Owl. There are many other names and aliases, if you will, for the majestic Barn Owl. The Barn Owl's face looks much different from the Florida Screech Owl or even the Florida Great Horned Owl. Their face is predominantly white and seems innocent in a way. They have long wings and long legs and their faces are usually heart-shaped, which could add to the innate innocence that they give off to their human observers.

In Florida, Barn Owls hide out and nest in barns of course, but will find other places to dwell and breed if necessary.

The Owl in Mythology & Today

Owls have been a part of mythology and legends for centuries, if not for millennia. Many Wiccans and Pagans look to the owl as a totem animal, or spirit guide, if you will. And in my opinion, it's no wonder that they do, as owls seem to be sacred to the Great Spirit or God in a way that humans can't fully grasp. They are wise beyond their own species, with a seemingly secret knowledge of the ways of the earth and humanity that most animals and even most humans don't understand.

As for mythology, the owl goes back to ancient Greek times and is wrapped up in the worship of the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, Athene. The story goes that Athene banished the crow for purposeful reasons and came to discover and love the owl...and honor it for its beauty and wisdom. It was even noted that the owls inhabited the Acropolis to a great extent, and the Greeks did not touch them, they honored the wise owl in the name of the wise Athene.

There are many more stories of the owl in history, revered and honored by different cultures including the Native Americans. However, not all cultures looked at owls as a symbol of goodness or virtue. In England, the people looked at owls as an omen or a bringer of death or destruction...a sinister sign.

This type of battle, the battle as to whether owls are good symbols or evil symbols still lives on to this day. For me, I can say that owls are wise and spiritually connected animals, especially the owls of Florida.

© 2011 Nicole Canfield


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Brian52S 2 months ago

    I moved to South Florida (Port Saint Lucie) from Massachusetts 3 years ago. I have yet to see any owls. I used to see them all the time up home. I hope I can see some owls soon. Very disheartening. They are absolutely beautiful.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 4 months ago from Summerland

    email it to nicolemcanfield@gmail.com

  • Jill1959 profile image

    Jill1959 4 months ago

    how can I post a picture of an owl that is in my yard. I would like to see if anyone can tell me what kind of owl it is and what I can do to entice him to stay around. it is about 8 to 10 inches tall and is red or brown with white and has "horns".

    I think that it is a screech owl but not sure. he doesn't seem to be afraid of us. we found him when we were trimming palm fronds and he didn't move, but we stopped trimming so I guess as long as he is there no trimming.

  • profile image

    William Bill Roch 5 months ago

    I recently experienced an Owl Discovery. It was in an unexpected location and an unexpected time of day. Middle afternoon, clear day. On a fence rail near the busy gate pass through by my gated community entrance. Another oddly thing was that the majestic and beautiful bird was very large almost 24 in. in height. Another odd perspective was the species. Not immediately known, for the north Florida region (Jacksonville). This Owl was mostly white with a pure white large head and had a light golden sheen on its wings. Very angelic color. Almost purely white. Seemed to be nodding its head as we slowly passed by as to say, 'I acknowledge you'.

    Very curious situation. Some believe that owl encounters symbolize either a good thing or bad thing. My rare owl encounters have always brought on either safety, gratifying or something pleasant is in the midst. ?

    Still curious what type of Large White owl is indigenous to North east Florida?

    I did score on a great new truck that day...just saying??.

  • profile image

    Richard577 17 months ago

    I seen a owl the other day that looks between a horned owl and a barn owl the size of it was big and its head was more round

  • profile image

    Summerplays 20 months ago

    what owl has the call of two hooks for you?

  • yn7799 profile image

    yn7799 2 years ago

    I want my yard full of Owl families. I am so in love with them.

  • Carol Morris profile image

    Carol Morris 2 years ago

    You are so lucky having a family of owls near you, they are such beautiful creatures. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    Nicole,what a great hub on Floridian owls. This was beautifully written with great facts and lots of tidbits on these birds. Lovely pics, too! No owls here in Ohio. My mother loved owls as her favorite bird, esp. the snowy white ones.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 2 years ago from Summerland

    Henry - I'm not sure where Englewood is...

  • profile image

    Henry De Jesus 2 years ago

    I was walking in Lemon Bay Park in Englewood with a friend last Monday and saw a Snowy Owl. I got a pretty good look at it before it flew off. I'm sure of what I saw. Was I seeing things, or is it possible to see one this far south?

  • profile image

    hey Moe ! 5 years ago

    I'm near Venice inlet/Dona Bay, so we have several different types of owls(screech, horned) and also some giant eagles. I think they are all beautiful, but have exception with some of the owls as they tend to wipe out many of the song birds, and also the colorful parrots and parakeets. They are built as perfect ruthless killing machines. On the old wives tales about attacks on domestic animals, I think they are more factual than fiction. I haseen them pick up rabbits, armadillos and racooons. I have also been a witness to near attack on my pomeranian, so (as you don't know already) always be very near your pet when you are outdoors as that would be a terrible thing for you and your beloved dog/cat.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 5 years ago from USA

    Beautiful creatures. I find their hooting to be comforting at night. White noise that helps me relax and sleep. This was a well-written hub with lovely photos. I found the mention of how certain groups regard owls to be interesting.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    beautiful night birds. Awesome photos and great hub.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

    I'm sure any size would do, as there are various types of owls in Florida. Try it and see what happens. :)

  • profile image

    scottowl 5 years ago

    Hey Kitty

    We live in Florida too and have a large wooded area behind our home. 100+ acres. We've never seen an owl back there but sometimes hear owls at night. We love them and my wife is really into owls now. I'm thinking of building a box for them and putting it up into a tree near the edge of the forest. But not knowing what kind of owls they are, not sure what kind to build. Any suggestions?

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

    maryrose - You did the right thing. It's probably best to take him to the sanctuary if you think he was hurt at all. Blessings to you!

  • profile image

    maryrose 5 years ago

    i was watching t.v. and I noticed my cat playing with something, living. he wasn't hurting it just playing. i wennt to check outhis new toy an it was the cutest owl. Of coarse I had to take his toy away and am going in the backyard in the morning to see if I can find his family, if not, I'll have to take him to the sancuary, I donn't want to and would love to keep him but.....

  • profile image

    kayleen 5 years ago

    i think all the owls are wonderful i don't know how people abuse them that they don't do nothing and they help human with their' pestcontol',

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

    Thanks, pstraubie48. The barn owl is beautiful, isn't it?

    princesswithapen - I love owls. No, I simply adore them! Majestic creatures for sure. My favorite has to be the screech owl, because they live in our yard. :)

  • princesswithapen profile image

    princesswithapen 6 years ago

    Owls - such mysterious yet majestic looking birds, aren't they? The Barn Owls are simply adorable. Innocent, sweet and uber cute!

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 6 years ago from sunny Florida

    Thanks for sharing...I live in FL and have not seen all of these varieties...I will keep a look out...owls are such a unique group...and the barn owl especially...this was lovely....

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

    WD Curry - I wouldn't call anyone a dumb "cracker". :) In fact, it makes more sense to me to call them that! Thanks!

  • WD Curry 111 profile image

    WD Curry 111 6 years ago from Space Coast

    Yeah, us dumb "Crackers" just call them ground owls (we call several species of hawks marsh hawks - that way we always get it right). They will use a gopher tortoise hole in a heart beat.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

    WD Curry - Is that the burrowing owl perhaps? Sounds adorable! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • WD Curry 111 profile image

    WD Curry 111 6 years ago from Space Coast

    I live in Florida, and have a "pygmy" ground owl burrow ot behind the house. it is by the "ZooTree", which you can see if you know where to look. I loved your presentation.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

    GNelson - That's awesome. I think screech owls are adorable. How long were yours there?

  • GNelson profile image

    GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

    We had baby screech owls in the maple over the driveway. I noticed them because of the mess on my truck. They were cute.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

    Indigital - Me, too. I love owls and eagles both. But parrots? I don't know, they always seem to hate me and want to bite me! Thanks for reading & commenting.

    BL Tween - Agreed! Thanks for reading.

  • BL Tween profile image

    BL Tween 6 years ago

    Yes, one of Gods many wonderful creations,

    enjoyed it thank you!

  • profile image

    Indigital 6 years ago

    I love Owls and Eagles. They're so cool! I used to have a parrot, many years ago.

    Good Hub!

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

    writer20 - Thanks, happy to hear that you love the owl as much as I do. They are beautiful, magnificent creatures. :)

  • profile image

    writer20 6 years ago

    Wonderful photo's I love the way owl's look. And grewta information.


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