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Owls from

Holderness, New Hampshire

I took these one summer when a naturalist kindly placed these guys in a nearby tree. 

I used A Canon 1D Mark 2 with a 70-200mm IS lens.

Saw-whet owl


Saw-whet Owl

 At 7-8 inches high, the saw-whet owl is the smallest of the owls found in New Hampshire. Though this owl does give a rasp call like the sound of a saw being sharpened, its most common call is "too-too-too." It can repeat this call more than 100 times per minute. It is most likely to be found perched in or near a dense stand of evergreens like hemlock or spruce, and feeds primarily on rodents.






Barred Owl

"Who Cooks for you? Who cooks for you, all?" is the call of the barred owl, the state's most vocal owl. This large brown and white owl, with large dark eyes and no ear tufts, is common. Barred owls also produce a startling array of wails, screams, whoops and cackles. They are especially noisy during their March and April courtship period. Prey include small mammals, frogs, snakes and fish.



Screech Owl

Screech Owl

The screech owl is a bit larger than the saw-whet and is also a cavity nester. These owls have two typical calls, neither one a screech; the "whinny" is a mournful descending whistle and the "tremolo" is a one-pitch whistle. Screech owls feed mainly on insects and small rodents.



Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Great horned owls are the real "hoot-owls." Their large size, ear tufts, yellow eyes and white throat bib are unmistakable. The deep, rhythmic hoots can be heard as early as January. Their five-note call has been likened to the phrase, "Who's awake? Me Too!" An opportunistic predator, the great horned owl feeds mainly on mammals,


photos taken at

(squam lakes natural science center)


Owls in New Hampshire

Owls are much more numerous than people realize. Unless you live deep in a treeless city, there is likely to be an owl within walking distance of your house. A cold night in midwinter is a good time to locate owls as they call to each other during their breeding season. Eleven species of owl occur in New Hampshire. The most common species live in forests, swamps, woodlots, farms and even suburban yards. None of these owls is easy to see by day; they spend most of the daylight hours hidden in tree cavities or perched in thick vegetation. Their plumage color and pattern is designed to blend in and their nocturnal activity period makes them difficult to detect. Owls see and hear what humans cannot. Many special adaptations combine to make owls superb nocturnal predators. Owls can see 35 to 100 times better in dim light than we can. Their eyes are fixed in their sockets. The only way they can move their eyes is to rotate their head. Their large, sensitive ears, located to the outside of their large eyes enable them to locate distance and direction of sound with amazing accuracy.