Owls of Nevada

Nevada is known for its rugged landscapes and unique biodiversity. From mountain lions, to bears and coyotes, our state has some magnificent creatures! But did you know that Nevada is also home to twelve different species of owl? That’s right! Twelve.

These impressive raptors, or birds of prey, are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular, meaning that they are active at night, or during the hours of dawn and dusk. These majestic birds vary in size and coloration. In fact, Nevada is home to one of the world’s lightest owls:  the elf owl. This tiny creature weighs in at around 1.4 ounces total. Conversely, great horned owls can also be found in Nevada. Great horned owls are one of Nevada’s largest nocturnal raptors and weighs between 2-4 pounds! Other species of owl that can be found in Nevada include the western screech, northern saw-whet, long-eared owl, and the burrowing owl to name a few!

Owls are masters of hiding in plain sight. These raptors excel at the art of camouflage, easily blending in with trees and rocks. In doing so, they improve their odds of survival by stealthily hiding from potential predators, while increasing the likelihood that they will be able to catch their next meal.

The next time that you are out on a night hike, keep an eye (or an ear) out for these fascinating birds of prey!

Denise Peterson

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