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Boreal Owl
Highway 61 north of Duluth, MN
February 26, 2005

Boreal Owl: The Boreal Owl is a small, cavity-nesting owl of the boreal forest. Because this species depends on old Pileated Woodpecker holes, which in turn require old trees, particularly aspens, Boreal Owls are an indicator species of healthy mature boreal forests.

Laura's Boreal Owl Gallery

To see a range map and learn a lot of basic natural history information about Boreal Owls, see

Viewing and photographing Boreal Owls

  • During some winters, Boreal Owls descend southward. They are often found near feeders and houses, either in search of mice, voles, and shrews feeding on spilled birdseed or simply drawn to house windows, which may serve as superstimuli for stressed birds desperately searching for cavities. When near houses, Boreal Owls may appear extremely tame. In some cases, this is because the birds are so stressed that they are too weak to fly away, or because flying makes them more likely to be detected by mobbing birds. Flushing a Boreal Owl is not kind, and violates the American Birding Association's Principles of Birding Ethics.
  • When Boreal Owls are about in daytime, they are easily observed with binoculars. You can photograph them with a long telephoto lens or try digiscoping. At night, your binoculars should have good light.
  • During the nesting season, Boreal Owls are most easily observed by their nests. It's best to go out with a reputable guide, and critical that you be patient. Knocking on trees and disturbing these nesters just so you can see them violates the American Birding Association's Principles of Birding Ethics.
  • During late winter and early spring, you may be able to listen in appropriate northern habitat for singing Boreal Owls. You can hear their calls at Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology All About Birds: Boreal Owls
  • In autumn, Boreal Owls are sometimes banded at northern banding stations, where you might be lucky enough to see one.

How YOU can help Boreal Owls:

For the Birds program transcripts about Boreal Owls:

Two Harbors, Minnesota

Highway 61 between Duluth and Two Harbors, February 26, 2005
waiting to go to the Raptor Center.
Examining a dead Boreal Owl. See Laura's sad photo page.




All my writing, images, videos, and sound recordings are copyrighted © 1997 - 2007 by Laura L. Erickson. I love to share my work to promote bird conservation and education, and to help people enjoy and learn about the birds and other creatures who live with us on this little planet. I produce this webpage, my radio program, and my photography and sound recordings entirely at my own expense. I could not bear for my hard work to be used to promote any product, company, or organization that is in any way harmful to birds. Please do not use any of my work in any for-profit projects without written permission from me. You can ask for permission by emailing me at