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Owl Prowl

Owls are an amazingly diverse and interesting family of birds. They play a prominent role in the Harry Potter books and movies and have had symbolic roles throughout history. Why are owls so interesting? Let's go on an Owl Prowl to find out.

Owls in the Harry Potter series

Why owls, and not hawks or eagles?

North American owls

There are 19 owl species in North America. Here are some of our favorites and some interesting owl facts.

The most striking appearance
The brilliantly white Snowy Owl. Hedwig, Harry Potter's owl, is a Snowy Owl.
Learn more about this species.



Listen to the call of the Snowy Owl


The largest
Great Gray Owl--27 inches long
Learn more about this species.



Listen to the call of the Great Gray Owl


The owl that will eat anything
The Great Horned Owl is the only animal that will regularly eat skunks.
Learn more about this species.



Listen to the call of the Great Horned Owl


The owl with the greatest call
The Barred Owl can really cut loose.
Learn more about this species.



Listen to the call of the Barred Owl


The monkey-faced owl
The Barn Owl is sometimes called the monkey-faced owl.
Learn more about this species.



Listen to the call of the Barn Owl


Keep prowling
Visit an active Barn Owl nest box by viewing Nest Box Cam on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Birdhouse Network web site.

View video of these owls on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library web site.

Snowy Owl

Short-eared Owl

Owls say the strangest things
The Lab's CD, Voices of North American Owls, has some sounds you will not believe.

Available online at SapsuckerWoods.com.



Learn more about each of these North American owls by visiting their profiles in the All About Birds online bird guide.


Barn Owl

Flammulated Owl

Western Screech-Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

Great Horned Owl

Snowy Owl

Northern Hawk Owl

Burrowing Owl

Spotted Owl

Barred Owl

Great Gray Owl

Long-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl

Boreal Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl