Owls in Idaho

The state of Idaho is home to about 14 species of owls. Idaho is one of the few US states with unspoiled natural areas, providing multiple habitats for different owls. For instance, the Western Screech Owl is quite common in the higher elevations of the state, while the Great Horned Owl lives in most other habitats.

Owls in Idaho (ID)

List of Owls in Idaho

NameAverage SizeStatusWhere Do They Live in the StateMating Season
Small Owls
Northern Saw-whet Owl Length: 7 – 8 inches
Wingspan: 17-22 inches
NativeCommon throughout the state, especially in forested areas like Payette National Forest and Boise National ForestSpring (March to April)
Western Screech Owl Length: 8.7 inches
Wingspan: 22 inches
NativeAbundant in forests at high elevations, like the Boise Foothills Late winter to early summer (February to May)
Northern Pygmy Owl Length: 5.9–6.7 inches
Wingspan: 12 inches
NativeLives in forested areas like the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and the Clearwater National ForestSpring to early summer (Late April to June)
Boreal Owl Length: 8.7–10.6 inches
Wingspan: 20–24 inches
NativeThough quite elusive, sightings occur in remote forests in Boise, Caribou, Clearwater, Panhandle, Payette, Salmon, and TargheeSpring to summer (March to July)
Burrowing Owl Length: 9-11 inches
Wingspan:  21-24 inches
AccidentalMostly seen in the southwestern part of Idaho, like Minidoka National Wildlife RefugeLate winter to early spring (February to August)
Flammulated Owl Length: 6.5-7.5 inches
Wingspan: 12-15 inches
AccidentalThey are extremely common south of the Salmon River, around ponderosa pine treesLate spring to early summer (mid-April to July)
Large Owls
Barn Owl Length: 12-16 inches
Wingspan: 42-43 inches 
NativeVery common in southwest Idaho, sightings become rarer in the north and eastYear-round, with peaks in late winter and spring (March to June)
Great Horned Owl Length: 18-25 inches
Wingspan: 40-60 inches
NativeExtremely common except for the highest elevations, with sightings in Craters of the Moon National Monument, City of Rocks National Reserve, and Boise River GreenbeltLate fall to early winter (November to January)
Barred Owl Length: 16-24 inches
Wingspan: 16-24 inches
NativeDecently common in northern Idaho and around the Frank Church-River of No Return WildernessLate winter to spring (February to April)
Short-eared Owl Length: 13-17 inches
Wingspan: 33-43 inches 
NativeCommon in southern Idaho, as well as Camas Prairie and PalouseVaries, often in early spring (March to June, peaking in April)
Long-eared Owl
Length: 13-16 inches
Wingspan: 24-40 inches
NativeMost common in southern Idaho in places like Boise National Forest, but are less common in other parts of the stateFrom late winter to early spring (around February to April)
Northern Hawk-owl Length: 14.2-17.6 inches
Wingspan: 18 inches
AccidentalOccasional visitor in northern IdahoLate winter to early summer (mid-February to May)
Great Gray Owl Length: 24-33 inches
Wingspan: 4-5 feet 
AccidentalThey have been seen in thenorthern panhandle, as well as central-western Idaho and the Frank Church-River of No Return WildernessSpring to early summer (March to May)
Snowy Owl Length: 20-27 inches
Wingspan: 49-58 inches
AccidentalOccasional visitors to the northern part of the stateVaries by region and based on prey availability (any time between May and September)

Where Can You See Owls in Idaho

In southeastern Idaho, Camas National Wildlife Refuge is home to the Short-eared Owl, while Mink Creek Recreation Area is home to the Flammulated and Northern Pygmy Owls. Market Lake Wildlife Management Area in eastern Idaho is home to several owl species like the Long-eared Owl, the Northern Saw-whet Owl, and the Short-eared Owl.

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