Deep Dive - Boreal Owl

by OBDK on January 17, 2022

Boreal Owls are circumpolar and therefore found in northern regions of North America and Eurasia. However, within the United States, they can also be found further south in the Rocky Mountain regions.1
These owls prefer mixed coniferous woods and deciduous forests where they can have protection from both the elements and potential predators. It’s very hard to spot these owls out in the wild because they’re nocturnal and shy.1&2  Because of this, they tend to be hard to study and so not a lot is known about them.1 
They stand about 8-9 inches tall and have a wingspan of 21-24 inches.3 They have “extreme reversed sexual dimorphism”, which means the females are larger than the males and weigh almost double what the males do.1 Females weigh about 6.4 ounces, while the males weigh about 3.8 ounces.3
They are nighttime hunters and go after voles, mice, shrews, and more. Like other owls, they regurgitate a pellet of bones and fur. Predators to the Boreal Owl include other owls, hawks, and martens.3
Although they are nocturnal and hunt at night, because of where they live, they experience the 24-hour sunlight during part of the year. They’ll end up having to hunt during the daytime during this time of year. These owls don’t migrate, but sometimes they’ll irrupt like Snowy Owls do and move to more southern regions than they normally live.1
Read more about irruptions on our blog here
  2. Sibley’s Owls of North America, by David Allen Sibley. Published by Earth Sky + Water, LLC. 2016.

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