15 Outstanding Pictures of Owls

Updated: Oct. 12, 2021

Admire these spectacular reader photos of owl species found across America, including snowy owls, burrowing owls, barred owls and more.

snowy owl in flight
Courtesy Ted Busby

Snowy Owl in Flight

“I heard about a rural area that three snowy owls had settled in, so I decided to try and get photos of this magnificent bird. Once I arrived, I had no trouble spotting the owl in a farmer’s field. I asked for permission to enter the property and spent approximately 40 minutes slowly approaching the owl in a zig-zag fashion so not to stress the bird. As I was preparing to leave, another photographer came walking straight into the field. I managed two shots just as it lifted off and flew away,” says Ted Busby. Check out 6 facts about snowy owls.

burrowing owl
Courtesy Bob Branham

Posing Burrowing Owl

“This burrowing owl defines the word cute. They look good doing nothing at all but when one gives you some action, it’s fantastic. I find these little guys in the neighborhood park and I feel blessed to have such a rare critter so close by. They build dens under ground and are most active at night,” says Bob Branham of Plantation, Florida. Discover 6 fun facts about owls in pop culture.

screech owl
Courtesy Brian Beckner

Owl Camouflage

“This was a remarkable capture to find this Eastern screech owl so perfectly camouflaged in a live oak tree. The afternoon sunlight was hitting the bark at the time I spotted this owl, which sat perfectly disguised protecting her young inside the tree,” says Brian Beckner of Estero, Florida.

great gray owl
Courtesy Heidi Novak

Great Gray Owls

“While out in the woods looking for the elusive great gray owl, I heard a low hooting sound. I looked toward the source just in time to see two fly at each other. They went at each other a few times before they went in separate directions. This is one of the shots from the sequence that lasted 20 seconds. It’s hard to find one, so you can imagine my excitement finding two,” says Heidi Novak of Pine City, Minnesota. Learn how birds use feathers, beaks and feet.

barred owls
Courtesy Karen Scott

Barred Owls

“As I walk in my favorite wooded park, I always search for the elusive barred owls. I often hear their ‘who-cooks-for-you?’ call, but I struggle to find them. On this unusually warm April afternoon, I was in a hurry to get my exercise, I looked up and saw these two beauties sitting near each other. They watched me take their picture and eventually nodded off to sleep. Sometimes when you quit looking so hard for something, you find it!” says Karen Scott of Dublin, Ohio.

great gray owl
Courtesy Kitty Drean

Branching Out

“My husband spotted this great gray owl while we were sitting on our cabin deck in western Wyoming. The owl seems so obvious when looking at this photo but in the wilderness surrounding our cabin, it just blended in with the tree and was extremely difficult to spot. I just loved that the owl sat on this little branch and watched us for about 10 minutes before swooping over us to go deeper into the forest,” says Kitty Drean.

screech owl
Courtesy Rick Hamilton

Red Screech Owl

“After much research, my wife and I traveled over 14 hours to an extraordinary park. We spent three days exploring and were fortunate to add to our life lists! The first day, we captured this image of a very red Eastern screech owl. Truly a moment in time I will never forget!” says Rick Hamilton of Westminster, Maryland.

great horned owl in nest
Courtesy Ron Matason

Great Horned Owl in Nest

“An expectant owl took over an osprey nest. After watching the nest for several days, I spotted the newborn,” says Ron Matason of State College, Pennsylvania. Learn more about great horned owls, the greatest hunters.

great gray owl
Courtesy Paul Danaher

Winter Owl

“This is a photo of a great grey owl I found while driving in a boggy area in Minnesota. It was a very cold and gloomy winter day and I was hoping to see something to photograph. Before I knew it, there was the owl staring at me!” says Paul Danaher of Chicago Heights, Illinois.

burrowing owls
Courtesy Sharon Volker

Expressive Burrowing Owls

“Burrowing owls are a fairly common site in south Florida near our winter home, and they tend to be quite protective of their underground nests. So when we saw this pair at a distance I moved closer, got down to ground level and captured this picture of the pair. I thought the result was priceless,” says Sharon Vokler of Otto, North Carolina. Check out 8 different kinds of bird nests and how to spot them.

barn owl
Courtesy Jack Rudkin

Barn Owl in Snow

“I took this shot of a barn owl while out in my pasture one morning in December. The bird was still sleeping when I saw him, so I ran back to the house to get my Canon sx 50,” says Jack Rudkin. Learn more about the owls of North America.

snowy owl
Courtesy Katie Heade

Snowy Owl on a Farm

“I live in northeast Ohio. My friends and I love to explore and experience the best of each season. This past year, there was a rare influx of snowy owls in Ohio. We heard there was one staying consistently at a farm, so we headed there, hoping to catch a glimpse. This magnificent bird was sitting on a post, seemingly waiting for us,” says Katie Heade.

baby owls
Courtesy Brent Barnes

Baby Owlets

“We are fortunate to have a pair of great horned owls that stay in our suburban neighborhood on a lake all year. They have nested in the same tree near our back yard for three straight years. This year they successfully raised four owlets! I shot this photo early in the morning while the young owlets were still awake and active. I took great care to not disturb the owlets or parents roosting nearby,” says Brent Barnes. Check out 13 super cute photos of baby birds.

owl close up
Courtesy Kelly Isley

Owl Eyes

” I captured this great horned owl photo with a Nikon 5300 in the national forest on the edge of Sedona, Arizona. It was an early fall morning in 2018. This is the first great horned owl I have photographed, and his eyes are stunning,” says Kelly Isley. Discover the top 5 birding hotspots in southeast Arizona.

great horned owl
Courtesy Laura Palmer

Who Goes There?

“On a chilly winter afternoon in Howell, Michigan, I spotted this great horned owl spying out at me from a branch. The curious owl made me chuckle,”
says Laura Palmer.