Owls in Georgia

Georgia is home to around 9 species of owls. Only 4 of them are known to live in the state year-round – the Great Horned Owl, the Barred Owl, the Eastern Screech Owl, and the Barn Owl – with the rest either vagrants or only living in Georgia for a few months.

Owls in Georgia (GA)

List of Owls in Georgia

NameAverage SizeStatusWhere Do They Live in the StateMating Season
Small Owls
Eastern Screech Owl
Length: 6-10 inches
Wingspan: 18-24 inches
NativeExtremely common and can be seen in most rural and suburban areasLate winter to early spring (February to April)
Burrowing Owl
Length: 9-11 inches
Wingspan:  21-24 inches
AccidentalRare visitors, though the owls that have moved here seemingly adapted wellLate winter to early spring (February to August)
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Length: 7 – 8 inches
Wingspan: 17-22 inches
AccidentalRarely seen, with a few sightings in the dense coniferous forests of northern Georgia like the Chattahoochee National ForestSpring (March to April)
Large Owls
Barn Owl Length: 12-16 inches
Wingspan: 42-43 inches 
NativeFairly common, with breeding populations throughout the stateYear-round, with peaks in late winter and spring (March to June)
Great Horned Owl
Length: 18-25 inches
Wingspan: 40-60 inches
NativeVery common, even in cities like Atlanta, where they often nest in high-risesLate fall to early winter (November to January)
Barred Owl Length: 16-24 inches Wingspan: 16-24 inchesNativeCommon in southern Georgia, especially close to swampsLate winter to spring (February to April)
Short-eared Owl
Length: 13-17 inches
Wingspan: 33-43 inches 
NativeSightings mostly take place in southern Georgia, in marshes like Okefenokee SwampVaries, often in early spring (March to June, peaking in April)
Snowy Owl Length: 20-27 inches
Wingspan: 49-58 inches
AccidentalThese owls visit Georgia during the colder months, with sightings in Sea Island, St. Simon’s Island, St. Catherine’s Island, and Tybee IslandVaries by region and based on prey availability (any time between May and September)
Long-eared Owl
Length: 13-16 inches
Wingspan: 24-40 inches
AccidentalRare vagrants that are occasionally seen in forests in the northern part of the stateLate winter to early spring (February to April)

Where Can You See Owls in Georgia

In northern Georgia, Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve is a great place to see the Long-eared Owl, while in central Georgia, Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge is home to the Great Horned Owl, the Barn Owl, the Barred Owl, and the Short-eared Owl. However, these owls are only sometimes visible or even present year-round, so it is important to remember their breeding seasons, as that is when they are most likely to be around.

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