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 1:51:35 PM (CST) Monday, July 02, 2012

Owl Series: Eastern Screech Owl Facts

Common Name(s): Common Screech Owl

Scientific Name: Otus asio

Approximate Wing Span 18.9–24 in.

Approximate Life Span: 248 months

Natural Habitat: Trees, forests, woods


The Eastern Screech Owl is considered a smaller bird, comparable to the size of a regular glass cup. This is astounding because this species usually lets out a powerful, shrill call that resonates throughout forests. You are most likely able to hear these mighty calls in the eastern part of the United States amongst areas where trees exist. In fact, if you have trees in your backyard there could be one roosting in your territory.

It is usually extremely hard to spot these owls during the day because they blend into nooks and crannies of trees with their camouflaged brown and white colors. However, at night they are very active, so study the sounds they make and catch their spooky call in the darkness. If you dare!


As stated, Eastern Screech Owls reside in woody, tree covered areas that have an adequate amount of tree cavities. These owls are also prevalent in farmlands, suburban areas, and city parks giving them the name the “cosmopolitan owl.” As long as there is a sufficient recess in the tree, there is an opportunity it could be home to this mighty, little bird.

Food & Hunting

This species hunts and eats a variety of small mammals as well as an abundant amount of birds, insects, amphibians, and reptiles. The mammals they commonly prey on are mice, rats, moles, squirrels and rabbits.

Eastern Screech Owls primarily hunt at night with the stalking mentality of waiting in trees for their prey to pass below them. Once prey is spotted, they pounce from perch to perch in a U-shaped motion and grab their food along the way. They have been known to capture insects in addition to their target prey during their short flight as well.

Behavior & Habits

As stated, this type of owl is chiefly nocturnal but has been known to be spotted at the crack of dawn, dusk and even in the daylight. These birds primarily lead a sedentary lifestyle and usually defend the same nest from their predators for an extended period of time.


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