Species: Otus asio
HABITAT AND RANGE:
Screech Owls are found across North
America from Southeastern Alaska across
to Northern New England and south to the
Gulf Coast and Mexico. They prefer open
woodlands and wood plots adjacent to
fields, meadows and marshes. They have
adapted to urban settings and frequently
nest near human habitations.
These owls are very small, standing only
7-10 inches in height. They are mottled
with prominent ear tufts and yellow
eyes. They are often mistaken for a baby
Great Horned Owl. The Screech Owl has
two color phases: rufus and gray. The
two color phases, which vary in
proportion to geographic region, are not
determined by age, sex or season.
Similar to most owls, the feathers of
the Screech Owl cover the entire body
down to the nails of the talons.
Screech Owls have a reputation for being
courageous and rather fierce for their
size because of the effort they exert to
protect their nests. However, if they
are found during the day, the Screech
Owl will often freeze motionless and try
to use their coloration to go unnoticed.
Screech Owls will feed on a wide variety
of prey. Some of their food items
include small rodents, birds, insects,
reptiles and amphibians.
REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT:
Screech Owls remain in a territory for
several years and they do not migrate.
They are a cavity nester, using
hollowed-out trees or bird boxes. There
is no nest made, as such, but 4-6 white
eggs are laid directly on the bottom of
the cavity. They incubate each egg as it
is laid, thus there us a wide range of
size and age among the clutch. This
technique is very common among owls and
other birds of prey who feed on mice or
other small rodents. It allows them to
raise all of their young if food is
plentiful or if food is scarce, they
will concentrate their efforts on the
older, larger hatchlings.
STATUS IN WILD:
They may suffer as a result of constant
deforestation, but they are not