Photo of a short-eared owl on the ground

You may not have even heard of the short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), because it is not common in Iowa. Although it is widely distributed throughout North America and is one of the world’s most distributed owls, it is endangered in the state of Iowa. Their “ears” are hard to see. One would think with “ears”…

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Photo of an eastern screech owl

They are called the eastern screech owl (Megascops asio), but that doesn’t mean all you’ll hear from them is screeches. Typically, these small owls only screech when they are defending their nest or fledglings. Otherwise, you will hear a variety of calls, including trills, whinnies, hoots and barks. They even make a clacking sound by…

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Photo of a saw-whet owl in a tree

Great-horned owls may be the most well-known and most common owl in Iowa, but I don’t think there’s any disputing that the northern saw-whet owl is the cutest. Only slightly heavier than a hairy woodpecker and about the size of a robin, the saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) is tiny and adorable. Saw-what owls hide easily.…

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“There’s a snowy owl along Highway 71, just north of Spirit Lake.” The caller on the phone had an excited lilt to her voice, the joy of seeing a snowy owl in Iowa. It seems that plenty of people have gotten to experience the excitement of seeing the largest owl, by weight, in North America.…

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