Denver with Long-eared Owl

The Owl Research Institute mission is three-fold:

1. To study the ecology of owls and their communities, both nationally and internationally, providing information about their ecology and natural history, as well as their distribution, abundance, survival, and breeding success.

2. To share our research with the scientific community, making it available to citizen scientists, and government and non-government agencies, providing tools for wise stewardship

3. To inspire the public about wildlife research and conservation, helping them to make more informed, more conservation-minded decisions.

ORI was born out of a need for more research about the world’s 225-some owl species. There was also a critical need to know more about the status and distribution of North American owls, several of which have federal or state listings: Species of Special Concern, Threatened, or Endangered.

To fill this gap in information, ORI has conducted long-term field research of owls for more than 25 years.

Our priority is to study wildlife biology in the field, researching the natural history of wildlife and their habitats. Our findings are shared with wildlife professionals, both through publication and collaboration.

We also share our results with the public, through workshops, classes, conventions, and conferences. Our programs foster awareness of conservation issues so that the community can make effective, prudent decisions about local resources.

ORI is based at the Ninepipes Center for Research and Education, located in the Mission Valley of western Montana. As our facility has developed, professionals, students, and the general public have been able to learn about wildlife, their habitats, and ethical conservation resource stewardship.

Peer into the Owl Identification Guide and learn more about these elusive night hunters.


  • Owls see primarily in black and white
  • They can turn their heads about 270 degrees
  • Their fourth toes are opposable
  • Fossil remains of owls date back 40 to 65 million years
  • Owl “ear tufts” are not ears; they are tufts of feathers used for camouflage
  • Owls range in size from two ounces to eight pounds
  • In many species, females are larger than males

The Institute and Ninepipes Center is supported primarily by private foundations, corporations and individual donors. Thank you for helping us to achieve our mission!

Long-eared Owlet

The Owl Research Institute is dedicated to owl research, education and conservation.
(406) 644-3412