The changing of the seasons makes for a vivid view, but beautiful creatures hiding in the branches can make a scene picture perfect. Many owls call the Maple Grove area home, including the barred owl, the Eastern screech owl, the great horned owl and the long-eared owl. Maple Grove parks, or even your backyard, are great places to spot these mysterious birds.
This one- to two- pound owl (pictured) is greyish-brown in color with a dark ring around its face. Barred owls can be identified from their dark eyes, as all other owls common in Minnesota have yellow eyes. These birds of prey might be seen snacking on rodents as well as frogs, fish and crayfish, and can be found along swamps—staying close to their next meal.
Eastern Screech Owl
This small owl weighs only about seven to eight ounces, but its wingspan can surprisingly stretch up to two feet. With a call that sounds similar to a crying child, it is easy to know if an eastern screech owl is nearby. These birds are often found along lakeshores and in suburbs, making Maple Grove a perfect place for them to call home.
Great Horned Owl
A larger owl with a reddish tint, it is known as a feared bird of prey as it is willing to kill skunks, hawks and even smaller owls. Great horned owls do not migrate and can be found across Minnesota year-round. They have tiger-looking stripes, large ear tufts and long eyelashes, making them a magnificent owl to spot.
Blending into the bark of trees with its brown feathers, this secretive, thin owl is harder to glimpse, even with its large eyes. There is a better chance of spotting them during breeding season when they are louder. After their eggs hatch, adult long-eared owls might act crippled to distract predators from their babies.
Andrew Johnson won first place in the 2016 Focus on Maple Grove photo contest with this photo. Watch the December issue for announcement of 2017 winners.