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Owl hunting in city at around 11:15AM

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At around 11:30AM in Portland, Maine on 12/20 I saw what I saw what I thought was a crow, then a Cooper’s hawk as it chased a flock of pigeons. I saw it again a few minutes later where it had landed on a chimney. It looked kind of greyish like a Peregrine Falcon. 

If suddenly turned it’s head to look at me with it’s beautiful yellow eyes and I realized in disbelief that it was an owl. I didn’t want to freak it out too much since it was paying more attention to me than hunting at that point, so I snapped a picture of it with my crappy cell phone camera which I will upload here. 

It was in a very populated area and I pointed it out to someone and she thought that it was an Eastern Screech Owl although Hawk Owl seems to fit better to me but I honestly don’t know or I wouldn’t be asking. Thank you in advance!



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We have about 100 of those fake owls in the neighborhood that I live in. I even looked into getting one but since they clearly don’t work I decided not to. 

it’s only a couple blocks from where I live. I was very close to it. There was never a fake owl there before. I will walk back to make 100% sure it’s real since it will be dark out in less than an hour. 

It seemed to small for a GHO. I’ve never seen a real one but I’ve seen a barred owl up close and thought it was enormous. I hear GHO are larger. Since I haven’t seen one, I can’t say for sure.

It was about the size of a crow or Cooper’s hawk. Someone walking up the street told me it was an Eastern Screech Owl and I’ve never seen one of those either. It’s a bad picture because it’s taken with an iPhone. It didn’t look like it had ears until it turned towards me. It may have been brown but looked more grey.

I have a feeling I’m going to regret not wanting to freak it out and not get more video if I don’t get this identified.  It’s always a delicate balance getting video vs freaking out wildlife. Be back shortly with an update.

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Don't feel too bad @Shellwake (as I suspect you are going to be disappointed, but perhaps not?). I took several photos of one last winter (quite distant and in a snowstorm) but afterwards I remembered there was a decoy in that particular location.

They should definitely have "decoy" written on them in large letters as I don't think it would change how effective they are.

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You guys are right. I went out yesterday and it IS a fake owl that was recently added. (I walk by that way frequently because it’s so close to where I live.). There is no bird feeder or any obvious reason that they would want a fake owl. I wonder why they put there.

Just a major coincidence that a Hawk was hunting in the most populated area I’ve ever seen one hunt in right around the corner from the new fake owl.

Afterwards, we discovered it was fake we walked around and looked at the other fake owls in the area to compare since we never fall for those ones.

I came to the conclusion that the decoys have either improved greatly or, more likely, they get worn by weather, sun, wind, rain, ice, snow etc.. A brand new owl is a lot more convincing than a weathered one. It fooled everyone that saw it with us that day. The other 100 fake owls that the pigeons literally land on top of look a lot more fake. 

Sometimes I have to laugh when I think about how ridiculous it must look to a bird, I’ve never seen a real GHO so they must not be out during the day very often. However, when the pigeons fly over this area it looks like they’re everywhere. Some of them are so close that you can see multiple fake owls on different roofs at the same time.


Thank you! I wouldn’t have went back to look and would have been disappointed in the future if you hadn’t tipped me off.


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