Are Owls Friendly to Humans: Will They Attack You?

Most owls do not attack humans unless they feel threatened or if someone is making noise that scares them. But just like most birds, owls are pretty unfriendly to humans. Owls can be pretty territorial regarding their home base or nesting area.

Reasons Why Owls Are Not Friendly to Humans

Owls can be beautiful and fascinating creatures but are not always friendly to humans because owls are typically territorial and aggressive. Some believe that this is because owls are mainly nocturnal animals and are therefore wary of humans during the day.

Others say that owls may view humans as predators and see us as a threat to their food supply. They can also be dangerous, especially during the breeding season when they may beg for food from humans.

Do Owls Attack Humans at Night?

Owls are generally harmless animals and will not attack humans unless provoked. If you keep a window closed at night, owls may get disturbed and move on. If an owl does decide to attack, it might just flap its wings but is unlikely to strike out.

How Do You Know if an Owl Will Attack You?

There’s no way to predict precisely how an owl will behave, but if it seems aggressive or territorial around you, it might be best to stay away. Instead, keep your hands and arms inside the wingspan if you get close enough to study an owl in detail. Additionally, do not make sudden noises or movements that might startle the owl.

Stopping an Owl Attack

If you find yourself in a situation where an owl is attacking, the best thing to do is back away slowly and calmly while making yourself look as small as possible. If that doesn’t work, try screaming or throwing something at the owl – this will hopefully scare it away. Additionally, try to use a flashlight or some other light to scare the owl off – this can cause it to fly away.

Can an Owl Kill a Human?

There is no record of an owl killing a human, but they can be dangerous if disturbed. If you find yourself in danger from an owl, always try to get away and call for help. Additionally, keep an eye out for any protective devices your home might have, such as a net or bird feeder.

Telling if an Owl Likes You

Owls are naturally independent and reserved creatures, so it can be hard to tell if they like you. However, their behavior may give away how they feel about you – for example, an owl that perches on your shoulder or hoots at you may show affection.

If the owl does not behave in a way that is typical of owls, it might be best to stay away from them. Additionally, owl owners often note that their owl becomes more affectionate as they familiarize themselves with its behavior.

Can I Keep an Owl as a Pet?

Keeping an owl as a pet in most U.S. states is technically illegal. Additionally, owls are not particularly easy to handle and may be aggressive if they feel threatened or defend their territory.

The Affection Signs of Owls

For starters, owls often show affection by hooting, perching on your shoulder, or flighting toward you. If you’re feeling brave, try interacting with them in these ways. But be sure to be aware of their behavior and don’t get scared or startled.

Additionally, owl behavior can be studied and understood to understand which ones may be best suited as pets. For example, if you’re considering adding an owl to your home, research their behavior and temperament first.

They Lean on Themselves

When owls lean on their nails, it shows trust and reassurance. For humans, this can be interpreted as signs of love. You can also try this behavior by leaning close to someone you care about – it will make them feel reassured and loved too!


Preening is another common way owls show affection. This involves the owl rubbing its head, body, and wings together to clean them. It’s a sign of compliance and submission – showing that you’re in charge. Additionally, preening can help keep the owl’s feathers clean and healthy.

Bill Fencing

Many people think that bill fencing is an indication of owls being friendly to humans. This behavior occurs when an owl positions its bill so that the edge touches or nearly touches a person’s arm, hand, or leg. They may do this to establish dominance over their human counterpart and to show submission.

The Unfriendliest Species of Owls

Barn Owls

Barn owls can be a pretty frightening creature, and in fact, they are not always the most friendly of birds. These animals are known to be territorial and attack humans if they feel threatened. If you live in an area that is home to barn owls, it is best to keep away from them!

Snowy Owls

Snowy owls can be a bit of an elusive sight, but they’re worth the hunt if you want to see one up close. These large predators mainly eat small rodents like mice and rats. Snowy is so wary of human beings that it’s rare for them to attack us. However, their sharp talons and beaks can cause severe injuries if they get involved in a fight.

Barred Owls

Barred owls can be quite friendly once you get to know them. These animals are territorial and will defend their territory, but they will also allow people close enough to look at them. They are typically nocturnal creatures, so it’s best to avoid them during the day when they’re most active.

Great Horned Owl

Great horned owls are notorious for their aggressive behavior. These creatures will attack humans if they feel threatened or believe we’re trying to take their food. They can be fast and powerful, so it’s important not to mistake them for harmless birds!