San Gorgonio Chapter




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There are 8 owl species in San Bernardino Mountains, 7 of which are year-round residents. The exception is the Flammulated Owl, which is here only during the summer. Female owls are generally larger than male.

Because Owls hunt mostly at night, they have a very sharp hearing. The ears are located at the sides of the head behind the eyes and are covered by the feathers of the facial disc. (Owls' ears and hearing)

A threat to owls and other birds of prey are wind turbines. Mice infestations have been noted by people living in the San Gorgonio pass area near a windfarm because owls and other birds that catch them were killed or scared away.

Owls usually do not build their own nests but nest in tree or cliff cavities or abandoned nests of other birds. Some will use nest boxes.

Page 1: Barn Owl - Great Horned Owl - California Spotted Owl - Flammulated Owl

Page 2: Long-eared Owl - Northern Pygmy Owl - Northern saw-whet owl - western screech owl

barn owl

Tyto alba

barn owl

An injured Barn Owl at Wildhaven, a wildlife rehabilitation center and sanctuary in Cedar Glen.

The Barn Owl is common the world over, except Antarctica, with 20-30 subspecies, of which the North American is the largest. Their main diet is rodents and other small mammals.  Populations have declined in some locations, one cause being rodent poison.

They live in open country, at forest edges and in clearings, farmlands and cities. It is a year-round resident in San Bernardino Mountains. Nest in hollow trees, cliff cavities, buildings and nest boxes

Length: 18", wingspan: 3'8"

Status: Least concern

More info, sounds and maps:

all about birds - enature - owlpages

 animal diversity web - USGS - wikipedia

barn owl nest box plan - internet bird collection - CDFG

great horned owl

Bubo virginianus

great horned owl

Great Horned Owl at Wildhaven.

This large owl lives in forests, deserts, open country, swamps, and parks. It preys on rabbits, geese, skunks, reptiles and many other animals, including other owls. Thus, it may pose a possible threat to smaller owl species in the same area.

It doesn't build its own nest but takes over nests made by other birds in trees, or nests in cliffs, buildings or hollows in trees.

The Great Horned Owl is a full-time resident in our area.

Length: 18-25", wingspan: 3-5'. Females are larger than males.

Status: Least concern

More info, sounds and map:

all about birds - enature - owlpages

nature works - USGS - internet bird collection - CDFG

California spotted owl

Strix occidentalis occidentalis

california spotted owl

This bird stays year-round in our mountains. It feeds mainly on rodents, such as woodrats, mice and moles, as well as on insects. It lives in old-growth forests and its habitat is continuously being decimated and disturbed by logging activities and developments.

Length: 17", wingspan: 3'9"

Status: Listed as a Species of Special Concern by the State of California. In spite of recommendations and petitions made by the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Forest Legacy in recent years to change its status to Endangered, the Forest Service has declined to do so. The Spotted Owl is on the Audubon watchlist.

More info, sounds and map:

all about birds - Audubon - wikipedia - CDFG

Flammulated owl

Otus flammeolus 

flammulated owl

Only slightly larger than a sparrow, the Fammulated Owl lives in pine forests. It eats mostly insects, especially crickets, moths and beetles. It spends summers here and winters from Mexico south to Guatemala.

Length: 6-7", wingspan: 16.1"

Status: IUCN status Least Concern. On the Audubon watchlist.

More info, sounds and map:

all about birds - enature - Audubon - internet bird collection - CDFG


Threats to owls by wind farms: wind farms and birds  - windfarms, birds and mice - spotted owl victory
Owl nest boxes: owlpages' guide to nest boxes - build a screech owl nest box - barn owl nest box plan - owlboxes