Eastern Screech Owl
La. strix, strigis owl
La. forma form, shape, kind
Gr. otis buzzard with long
La. asio, axio horned owl
A small owl, eight to ten inches long with a wingspan of
almost two feet.
Predominantly rusty red with light and
dark brown or black streaks, or gray with black steaks and a fine yellowish tint and
variations in between. White undersides with crossed black streaks. Conspicuous ear tufts
and black circles around yellow eyes.
Eastern Screech Owls Inhabit forests,
groves, swamps, orchards, parks, small towns, and suburbs in eastern North America, from
southern Canada to northwest Mexico and from the Great Plains to the East Coast.
Builds scanty loose nests of sticks, leaves and feathers in natural
or abandoned tree cavities, sometimes in barns and sheds or in nest boxes.
Lays around four to eight white eggs which hatch after less than one month of
incubation and young leave the nest in about another month.
Nocturnal hunters of mice, insects, frogs, snakes, lizards, crayfish and fish, they
usually keep out of site during the day. They stir up a commotion among song birds if they
venture out during the day.
The screech owl is more closely associated with man's activities than other owls due to
the abundance of prey, numerous nesting and roosting sites, and reduced competition in
An owl's fluffy feather edges reduce the noise of flight. Many neighbors are unaware of
the Screech Owl's presence until the bird swoops like a shadow toward an intruder, hooting
and snapping its bill as it pulls up in the last second.
Since ancient times the owl or those who
encounter it have been regarded as unlucky, a superstition perpetuated
in particular by the Screech Owls proximity to people, its nocturnal
nature and its eerie shivering, descending wail.
They have been made into pets, although it is best for all observed in
its own. Left to its choice the Screech Owl is a good neighbor
controlling the local mice population.
Eastern Screech Owl
Nest Box Plans
|50birds Designs include
several Screech Owl Houses. The Eastern Screech Owl Nestbox (same as for Western
Screech Owl, Kestrel and Barrow's Goldeneye) has a 8" by 8" floor, 15" inside ceiling, 3" diameter
entrance hole located 12" above the floor and ventilation openings. Assembled with
corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes. Hinged roof
is secured with shutter hooks for easy access.
Mount out of reach (10 feet or higher)
near woodland edges or clearings, small tree stands or under the eave of a farm out
building within moderate distance of wetlands. Face south so they can sun themselves
through the hole in winter. Place some wood chips on the floor. Squirrels may use this