Georgia is a wonderful state that has plenty of beautiful scenic outdoor areas that are loved by the locals.
In addition to wonderful sight-seeing options, the natural side of Georgia is also home to a variety of plants and animals that live there both seasonally and year-round.
One animal in particular that has been known to call Georgia a home as well as a vacation home is the owl.
Owls come in a variety of different species and Georgia makes it possible for you to spot up to eight exciting and beautiful types of owls in the local area.
By providing beautiful nature, a variety of smaller animals, and nice open air, this wonderful state is loved by owls of all kinds, making it the ideal backdrop for birdwatching.
When it comes to owls, Georgia has plenty to offer them. Its humid subtropical climate is home to a wide range of plants, insects, and small animals that create the perfect ecosystem for owls of all kinds to thrive.
There are enough different places in the area to offer a wide range of living options for owls that are looking to move in or just drop by, which is why so many different species frequent the area.
With its collection of stunning State Parks and other natural elements, it comes as no surprise that wildlife of all kinds thrives in this area.
You can use this to your benefit as a birdwatcher and head out at night to see some completely amazing owl activity.
What Owls can be seen in Georgia?
Table of Contents
1. Barn Owl
107 to 110 cm
430 – 620 g
Up to 4 years
Voles, Shrews & Mice
Barn owls are known for their mostly white feathers with touches of mottled grey.
If you see them during the day, their feathers and coloring are easily distinguishable, but at night they are said to look like phantoms that soar through the night chasing small mammals.
They enjoy spending time inside dead trees and other closed-in areas, making them fairly easy to find if they are in your area. You will be able to tell from their shrill cry at night.
In Georgia, barn owls can be found in a wide range of agricultural reasons in the north and south.
This makes it easy for you to see these creatures in a way that perfectly fits their name since they are often found within barns.
In addition to agricultural spaces, they can be found in marshy areas and spaces near rivers.
Barn owls can be seen year-round in Georgia, but you might have a better chance spotting them at dusk or dawn since this is when they are known to hunt.
If you are looking for them, you can listen for their tell-tale shriek in an area and try to spend time outside during prime hunting hours.
2. Eastern Screech Owl
46 to 61 cm
Rats, Squirrels, Rabbits & Skunks
This adorable owl is known for its characteristic small size and theatrical mating display.
You can recognize it by its unique call, which descends in volume right before you see it. These smaller owls are known for spending their time hunting, courting and enjoying a good nap during the day.
Their mottle gray and brown feathers make them easy to identify if you get a chance to see one during the day.
If you are looking to see an owl in Georgia, chances are that the Eastern Screech Owl is what you will see.
This cute little owl is known for being the most common owl in Georgia and is great for seeing nocturnal predators at work. These birds can be found in cavities in trees during the day and soaring the skies at night.
They can be found in rural and suburban areas alike and have a high enough volume to make spotting them easy.
These owls are known to mate in Georgia between March and April, making this a great time to spot them.
Most commonly, you can see these owls when they are out hunting, which they generally do during the first few hours after nightfall in this area.
3. Great Horned Owl
28 years old
Squirrels, Rabbits & Skunks
The Great Horned Owl is a large cross-American bird that has been known to spend many days and nights hunting.
You can easily spot this owl by its recognizable horned appearance which is actually the result of specific tufts of feathers that are shaped oddly near its eyes.
They are known for their bold manner and willingness to be seen by all.
This owl, in particular, can be spotted in a wide range of areas, but it is known for its time spent in the woods and in open fields.
If you are looking to see the Great Horned Owl, you want to look for open areas that are rich with smaller mammals to feast on.
They are known to enjoy perching on manmade structures and can be seen surveying an area before a hunt.
When you look for the Great Horned Owl, you want to consider its habits. Unlike other owls, Great Horned Owls are open to being seen in the daylight and have been known to hunt when the sun is still out.
Your best chance of seeing a Great Horned Owl is during dusk when it is known to perch and take stock of an area before a night of hunting.
Many people see these owls during the twilight hours before other owls generally head out for the evening.
4. Barred Owl
107 and 111 cm
Birds, Fish, Reptiles
The barred owl is known for its rich call that can be heard day and night when this peculiar bird feels like it has something to say.
It’s feathers are composed of a clean cut and mottled appearance mixing brown and white for a beautiful pattern that is easy to recognize.
These medium-sized owls are known for hunting a wide range of animals and generally like to nest in a tree cavity, particularly in dead trees.
Ever the avid hunter, they are known to soaring above the ground searching for something tasty to eat.
In Georgia, the Barred Owl is a common resident that can be found most easily in the coastal plains.
This particular owl appreciates time spent in wooded areas, but will happily soar over an open field looking for a tasty meal.
Since they are fairly open to eating a wide range of animals, they are more open to exploring new areas than some other owls might be.
The Barred Owl can be found in Georgia all throughout the year, but there are certain times when you have a better chance to spot these exciting birds.
They are more active during their mating season which starts in Spring and carries out into the end of Summer. You can see them and hear them more as they carry out certain mating rituals.
5. Burrowing Owl
51 to 61 cm
Insects, small mammals & reptiles
If there is one adorable and well loved owl in the area, it is the burrowing owl.
These small owls are known for the fact that they realistically don’t act like owls at all.
Everything including their size, diet, and nesting habits separates them from the rest of the owls in the area, making it easier than ever for you to identify them when you see them.
These owls nest in burrows in the ground and though they might be a little shy, they are quite the sight to see.
Many people worry about being able to distinguish between an owl burrow and a traditional animal hole, but the fact is that they are one of the same.
Burrowing owls are known for taking over holes from other animals and transforming them into a fun little nest that they can raise their young in.
You can find these Georgia residents in open fields and prairies, particularly areas that have brush and cover that they can use to hide from natural predators.
Unlike most other owls, Burrowing Owls are not nocturnal.
These strange little birds can be found hopping around during the day looking for something delicious to eat.
In fact, they are known to stand tall and proud on long legs at all hours of the day and can be found in areas that are heavily populated with tasty bugs to eat.
You can see more activity during Summer when their mating season is really thriving.
6. Short-Eared Owl
85 to 110 cm
Voles, Mice, Squirrels
As the name suggests, this owl has small and distinctive areas that can hardly be seen on their round head.
This owl, which is known for its medium size and beautiful dark feathers, is a proud resident of many states, but does migrate unlike some other popular owls.
Their nests can be found in open areas around the country tucked away in the ground underneath some nice vegetation.
When you look for the Short-Eared owl you want to check for good hiding places that also support small mammals.
Fields, prairies, and open suburban areas are popular hangout spots for these adorable owls and their ground-based nests.
You can find them hopping across the ground or flying in irregular patterns low above the plains as they chase down mice and other small mammals.
The Short-Eared Owl migrates, so the best time to see it in most places is during the colder months.
This bird will spend time tucked away during the day and traditionally hunts during dusk and dawn when the animals have just started to scurry about.
They can also hunt more throughout the night, but the best times to spot them are during low light periods.
7. Snowy Owl (Very Rare)
Birds, Rabbits, Fish & Rodents
The Snowy Owl is not a resident of Georgia so much as a miracle visitor.
Only four have been seen in Georgia over the last 70 years, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t witness one if you are lucky.
These birds are known for their ground-based nests in cool areas, but they do migrate and can end up anywhere else in the United States when it suits them. Simply look for their tell-tale snow white feathers!
Knowing where to find a Snowy Owl in Georgia is really just a matter of luck.
You can find them in areas that are rich in food, but only if the timing is absolutely right.
It isn’t overly common for them to spend time in warmer areas, but you might be surprised to see a Snowy Owl take down another smaller bird or even chase down other small mammals if they are hungry enough.
Snowy Owls are diurnal, which means that they hunt both during the day and at night.
These beautiful birds can be seen day or night hunting for food if you are in the right space at the right time.
If you are looking for them, your chances are better in Winter when they are known to migrate for the season.
8. Northern Saw-Whet Owl
45 to 60 cm
Shrews, Voles, Young Squirrels
The Northern Saw-Whet Owl is a smaller owl known for its beautiful brown and white feathers that make it easy to spot.
This beautiful owl blends in well with many trees up north, but you will quickly fall in love with it if you do see it because of its serene beauty.
It has a large round head that has no notable ear tufts, making it appear that much smaller and more endearing.
You can easily recognize them from their shrill repetitive cry that will ring out in the night when they head out to hunt.
Finding these owls is a matter of finding the right forest.
These compelling birds are known to be most at home in local trees and can enjoy their time perched in a good spot before heading out for a nice hunt at night.
They enjoy densely wooded areas and have been known to frighten many with their sharp call in the night.
If you are looking for this owl in Georgia, you will want to wait for Winter to arrive.
During the Winter season, these birds migrate to central and southern America looking for nice forests to hide in.
You can find them out and about at night since they are true nocturnal hunters. They are fairly difficult to see, but are absolutely beautiful if you get a chance to spot them.
We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!