EASTERN SCREECH OWL

Scientific Name: Otus asio
Order
Strigiformes (owls)

Family
Strigidae (typical owls)

Habitat & Range
Eastern screech owls can be found almost anywhere in North America west of the Rockies. Eastern screech owls have the broadest ecological niche of any North American owl. They are found in a variety of habitats, from urbanized surroundings to boreal forests. They are generally found in wooded areas but do well in urban and suburban areas and acclimatize readily to human presence, often using bird boxes for nesting. These birds are cavity nesters and use natural cavities or those created by other animals.

Identification
Eastern screech owls have two color phases-red and grey-that reflect the color of tree bark in their habitat. They are very small owls weighing a maximum of 8 oz. with wingspans of 18 to 24 inches. They are the only small eastern owls that have “ear” tufts.

Diet
Eastern screeches are one of the most strictly nocturnal owls in North America. They hunt large insects, mice, shrews and small birds after dusk. They use their excellent hearing and night vision to detect and catch prey.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Screech owls nest in tree cavities rarely using any nesting material. Eggs are usually laid between February and July depending on geographical region with 2 to 8 eggs laid per clutch. Incubation lasts 26 days with the female incubating the eggs and the male providing her with food. The young remain in the nest for a month and will leave their parents after 10 weeks.

 
 
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