Common Owls of Will County

Take the owl ID challenge! With your family, take a hike right after the sun sets or even at night. Try to hear or, if you are lucky, see these common owl residents of Will County.


Great horned owl (Photo courtesy of Paul Dacko)

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)

Height: 18-25 inches

Description: This owl has bright yellow eyes. You may also notice “horns” or “ears” but really it’s tufts of feathers that have nothing to do with hearing!

Habitat: Forests, woodlands, open country, and areas near streams.

Call: “Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo.”



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Barred owl (Photo via Shutterstock)

Barred Owl (Strix varia)

Height: 17-24 inches

Description: This owl gets its name from the barring or vertical streaks on its chest and belly. It also has large, dark brown eyes.

Habitat: Woodlands, areas near rivers, and swamp land.

Call: “Who-cooks-for-you? Who-cooks-for-you-allll!”


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Eastern screech owl (Photo via Shutterstock)

Eastern Screech Owl (Otus asio)

Height: 7-10 inches

Description: This is Will County’s smallest owl with ear tufts like the great horned owl. The screech owl can either be a reddish brown or grey.

Habitat: Woodlands, farm groves, and shade trees.

Call: A whinny that sounds like a horse, “neiggghhhh.”