Species Spotlight: Eastern Screech-Owl

Juvenile Eastern Screech-Owl

Juvenile Eastern Screech-Owl

 

If you’ve ever heard an odd, eerie trill while walking along a woodland path or even a wooded urban trail have no fear! Contrary to its it’s name, the Eastern Screech-Owl rarely screeches. Chances are that you’ve heard this wonderfully melodic and calming call without realizing it!

 

Eastern Screech-Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

 

This small owl is one of the most common in the eastern United States. These pint sized owls can be found widely spread in a variety of forest habitats, from evergreen to deciduous, rural to urban. I have found them in the deep woods just as easily as I have behind public libraries, and in public parks.

 

Eastern Screech-Owl (Red Morph)

Eastern Screech-Owl (Red Morph)

 

Eastern Screech-Owls play host to some absolutely amazing camouflage, and are often heard far more than seen. They’re cavity nesters and roosters, so having a good idea of where those cavities are in your areas will increase your chances of finding these owls.

 

Eastern Screech-Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

 

Also of interest, Eastern Screech-Owls can be one of two colors. Gray morph is far more common, but they can also be rufous or red morph as well. Red morphs make up only about a third of all Eastern Screech-Owls.

 

Eastern Screech-Owl (Red Morph)

Eastern Screech-Owl (Red Morph)

 

These owls are truly adaptive, preying upon various food sources. Anything from insects to amphibians, small mammals to earthworms are fair game. This is one reason these owls do so well in such a variety of locales.

 

Eastern Screech-Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

 

Owls have been included in folk lore and mystic stories for centuries. Representing everything from symbols of wisdom and luck, to evil and death. The sight of them are often met with a sense of wonder, and curiosity. The Eastern Screech-Owl is a great gateway bird to get folks interested in Owls, and birds altogether. While “The Biggest Week in American Birding” is well known for offering amazing looks at Warblers, Vireos, Tanagers, and many other species, chances are good that you’ll be able to view one of these spectacular little owls. So why not join Wildside for an unforgettable experience!

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