Where Do Owls Sleep?

When walking through the woods at dusk, sometimes it’s easy and common to spot an owl perched high atop a tree branch. This is where you will typically find them hunting and scouting, but where on earth do they sleep?

The answer is pretty obvious. Like most other birds, owls sleep in a nest. Oftentimes, owls will sleep inside an old raccoon hole, high up in a tree, and other times they’ll nest on the ground. 

Owls typically sleep in trees or other dense vegetation as this helps protect them from predators. Owls don’t limit themselves to nests though — they may sleep in a variety of places, depending on the species. Some owls, such as the barn owl, will sleep in tree cavities, hollow logs — or inside the roof of someone’s barn. 

Where they sleep depends on the species of owl as well as the part of the world they’re in. In some places, owls will simply sleep nestled between a tree branch and the trunk, and in other places, you won’t find them sleeping at all (because they’re good at hiding).

Others, such as the great horned owl, will take over an abandoned hawk or eagle nest. It’s not uncommon for owls to take over the nests of other species, but they may sometimes build one of their own. Some owls may even become injured or be killed in a territory dispute with another bird of prey. 

The burrowing owl digs tunnels and sleeps in them underground. Still others, such as the snowy owl, prefer to sleep on the ground out in the open, using their white feathers as camouflage in the snow. 

No matter where owls sleep, one thing is always common: owls stay away from loud noises and human activity when sleeping—don’t we all?

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