Owls in Delaware

Despite its relatively small size, the state of Delaware is home to 9 owl species. Several of these congregate around Delaware Bay, which is close to the Atlantic, while others, like the Snowy Owl, will visit from northern neighboring states like Philadelphia or New York.

Owls in Delaware (DE)

List of Owls in Delaware

NameAverage SizeStatusWhere Do They Live in the StateMating Season
Small Owls
Eastern Screech Owl
Length: 6-10 inches
Wingspan: 18-24 inches
NativeFairly common, with sightings in Brandywine Creek State Park and Redden State ForestLate winter to spring (February to April)
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Length: 7 – 8 inches
Wingspan: 17-22 inches
NativeCommonly seen in northern Delaware in places like White Clay Creek State Park, where deciduous and coniferous forests are foundSpring (March to April)
Burrowing Owl
Length: 9-11 inches
Wingspan:  21-24 inches
AccidentalNot common outside of the occasional vagrant sightingLate winter to early spring (February to August)
Large Owls
Barn Owl
Length: 12-16 inches
Wingspan: 42-43 inches 
NativeThis owl is commonly seen in the coastal marshes of Delaware BayYear-round, with peaks in late winter and spring (March to June)
Great Horned Owl
Length: 18-25 inches
Wingspan: 40-60 inches
NativeCommonly seen in the eastern part of the state in places like Cape Henlopen State Park and Prime Hook National Wildlife RefugeLate fall to early winter (November to January)
Barred Owl
Length: 16-24 inches
Wingspan: 16-24 inches
NativeCommonly seen in places like Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Brandywine Creek State Park in the north, as well as Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, Killens Pond State Park, and Fork Branch Nature Preserve in the central part of the stateLate winter to spring (February to April)
Snowy Owl
Length: 20-27 inches
Wingspan: 49-58 inches
NativeExtremely rare nowadays, with few sightings in the stateVaries by region and based on prey availability (any time between May and September)
Long-eared Owl
Length: 13-16 inches
Wingspan: 24-40 inches
NativeFairly common in Delaware Bay and Chesapeake BayLate winter to Spring (February to April)
Short-eared Owl
Length: 13-17 inches
Wingspan: 33-43 inches 
NativeSeen in eastern Delaware, in places like Dover and Delaware BayVaries, often in early spring (March to September)

Where Can You See Owls in Delaware

Little Creek Wildlife Area in Delaware Bay, east of Dover, is a great place to see the Short-eared Owl, where they flock annually on a regular basis. They are also seen in Slaughter Beach when it gets colder, albeit infrequently.

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