8 Common Types of Owls in Maryland

Types of Owls in Maryland
Image by depositphotos.com

Many people admire the secretive owl. The fact that most of us never see them because of their concealment and nocturnal lifestyle adds to their allure.

It may also make you question how many different types of owls in Maryland can be found where you live. 

Our blog article will look at the types of owls in Maryland. While Maryland is a smaller state, it has diverse owl habitats, ranging from forests to shorelines.

Some of these are at ease near people and can be found in wooded areas, even in Washington, D.C.

Others will require you to walk into a more mature forest to see if you can take a journey to the sea.

1. Barn Owl

Barn owls(Tyto Alba) are first on our list of types of owls in Maryland to be seen in Maryland all year. However, they are difficult to spot. They favor open areas, including meadows, farms, ranches, agricultural land, and woodland strips.

Barn owls prefer to build their nests in man-made structures with many eaves and beams, such as barns, attics, and church steeples. This is most likely how they received their name. They often build their nests in tree cavities, caves, and cliff faces. Barn Owls are nocturnal and are rarely to be seen during the day.

They soar low over fields at nightfall and throughout the night, utilizing their incredible hearing to locate mice and other rodents. If you catch a glance at their big, ghostly white face and belly, it may be quite a terrifying sight.

2. Barred Owl(Strix varia)

Barred Owl is also on our list of types of owls in Maryland. It is a gorgeous brown and white striped barred owl that can be found all year in Maryland and is pretty common. 

These types of owls in Maryland prefer to stay close to home, frequently rarely venturing beyond a 10-mile radius. Although their territory frequently overlaps with that of the great horned owl, they avoid being in the same region as them. Great horned owls will attack barred owl eggs, young birds, and occasionally adults.

Barred types of owls in Maryland enjoy mixed and mature trees near water, especially if there are wide uninterrupted tracks of the forest. During the day, you could see them roosting in trees during a trek. They are most active at night, though, when hunting. 

Their distinctive hooting call has been described as sounding like, “who cooks for you? “Who prepares for you? During courtship, a mated pair will execute a duet of various hoots, honks, caws, and gurgles.

3. Eastern Screech-Owl

This little owl can be found all year in most of the eastern United States, including Maryland. Eastern screech owls(Megascops Asio)  have three plumage colors: gray, brown, and “red” (which is a reddish brown). 

The patterns on their feathers, regardless of color, give excellent camouflage for blending in with tree bark. Although their name implies that they make a shrieking or screaming sound, this is not the case. Instead of hooting, they create thrilling sounds or “whinnies” that sound like high-pitched horses. 

You can attract eastern screech owls to your yard by erecting a suitably sized nest box. These small types of owls in Maryland can be found in farmland, municipal parks, and residential areas. Almost anywhere with some tree cover.

4. Great Horned Owl

Great Horned owl(Bubo virginianus) is next on our list of types of owls in Maryland. Because of their big size, bright eyes, and “horns,” which are tufts of feathers that jut up on either side of their head, great horned owls are among the most common and recognized owls in North America.

These types of owls in Maryland live in various environments, including forests, swamps, deserts, and urban areas such as city parks. Their plumage varies in color, but the majority are either cold or warm brown.

They can be found all year in Maryland. Great horned owls eat a wide variety of prey, including mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and fish. The sound most people associate with owls is their hoot, frequently exploited in television and film.

5. Long-Eared Owl

Long-Eared owls (Asio ) are far less numerous than other species in the state; therefore, you must look for them. Pine stands or woodlands near grassland and meadows are their favored environment.

Their brilliant yellow eyes, white V-shaped facial pattern, circular facial disc, and long feather tufts that point straight up can always give them an astonished expression. The rounded face with a white V distinguishes them from great horned owls.

Long-eared types of owls in Maryland are typically silent when not nesting, so you won’t often hear them hooting in Maryland. Their outstanding concealment and covert roosting habits in deep forests tend to make them hard to find.

6. Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Northern saw-whet owls(Aegolius acadicus)  have round heads and bright eyes. Aside from their small stature, there are a few more reasons why these owls are famously difficult to find.

Their mottled brown plumage mixes in well with the surrounding woods, especially when perched motionlessly on a branch. These types of owls in Maryland are also inherently secretive and only active at night, so you won’t see them during the day.

The easiest way to locate a northern saw-whet owl is to learn its call and listen for it at night, especially between January and May when they are most active. They have a peculiar call that sounds like a whetstone sharpening a blade (too-too-too), earning them the nickname “saw-whet” owl.

7. Short-Eared Owl

Short-eared owls (Asio flammelous) spend most of the summer in Canada and the northern United States, only visiting Maryland in the winter. They have “ear tuft” feathers, as the name implies, but they are so short that they are practically never visible. 

Look for them in marshes, gravel, rock quarries, fields, woodlots, and thickets during the winter. Their populations in a given area can vary from year to year due to the population of their prey, which includes moles, rats, rabbits, and weasels.

It is believed that their populations are declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by the conversion of the broad open grasslands. They require farmland, grazing land, recreational areas, and housing development.

8. Snowy Owl

Lastly, Snowy owls(Bubo scandiacus) spend the winter in most of Canada, but this owl has been migrating further south into the United States each year. Every year throughout the winter months, at least a few can be seen in Maryland. The sum varies greatly from year to year.

During the summer, these magnificent types of owls in Maryland move far north to the arctic areas of Canada and Greenland to breed. They will hunt lemmings, their favorite summer food, all day.

Because of their dazzling white plumage, snowy owls are not as difficult to notice as other owls. They are diurnal, which means they are active during the day, unlike most other owls. 

For hunting, they favor wide-open environments such as farms and beaches. The best place to look for them in Maryland is along the coast. Look for them on the ground or poised on icy beaches.

Snowy types of owls in Maryland are intrepid explorers who rarely stay close to home until they reach adulthood. Owls from the same traced nest were discovered hundreds of miles apart in opposing directions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

8 Types of Owls in Georgia

Owls are some of the most majestic creatures in the animal kingdom and are a common sight in…