Open woodlands, forest clearings, old orchards, suburban parklands
Wild: Mainly insects. During winter months birds, small mammals, and reptiles are consumed.
Incubation: About 30 days
Clutch: 2 to 6; usually 4. Larger and older females lay larger clutches.
Lifespan: Average 3.6 years, but many live much longer.
Length=7 to 10 inches, and wingspan=18 to 24 inches. Females are larger than males. There are two distinct color phases: gray and rufous. In the rufous phase they are fox-red above and whitish below with rufous crossbars and dark vertical streaks, and rufous facial disks. In the gray phase they are gray or gray-brown above, darker on the crown, heavily streaked and crossbarred, with the underparts whitish. In both phases the striping and bars make a perfect imitation of tree bark.
Did You Know?
Owls can only look straight ahead. Their eyeballs cannot rotate up, down, or sideways. Instead, the owl turns its whole head, which is mounted on unusually flexible bearings. The owl’s facial disks help it to hear better by deflecting sound into the ear openings which lie beneath. Their wings have soft edges which enable them to fly quietly. They play an important role in the control of rodents and insects. Owls have eyesight 100 times more acute than humans.
While they have been known to live as long as 14 years in the wild, most do not make it past their first winter. Starvation and collision with cars cause high mortality in young owls attempting to find their own territory.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the Conservation Education Programs at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.