The Eastern Screech Owl
An Eastern Screech Owl is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Eastern Screech Owls. We have also put together a list of fun Eastern Screech Owl t-shirts, Eastern Screech Owl bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Eastern Screech Owls
The Eastern Screech Owl belongs to the Megascops family and is considered fairly small. They are native to North America with their distribution ranging from the eastern regions, Mexico to Canada, and found in most wooded environments of the region. The owls have also adapted to human habitats though they still like to avoid detection than any other owl in their range. They are widespread and common although thought to be gradually declining in various parts of their habitat.
Description and Identification
Eastern Screech Owls are 6.3-9.8 inches long, with a wingspan of 7.7-9.4 inches. Populations of
Eastern Screech Owls in colder regions are generally larger than the others. These owls have two
distinct plumage colorations which are either predominantly colored rusty or dark gray. Their
underparts are streaked and their plumage is very intricately patterned. These mid-sized screech
owls have characteristically stocky frames and short tails. Eastern Screech Owls have feathered ear
tufts, yellow beaks, and round heads that are large in comparison to their body. In terms of size,
these owls are quite similar to their relatives — the western screech owls. As the range of these
owls often overlaps, they can easily be differentiated on the basis of their color.
Eastern Screech Owl Color Pattern
The Eastern Screech Owl is found in two shades. It can be rusty brown or dark gray in its intricately patterned plumage. They have white underparts with streaking patterns.
Eastern Screech Owl Size
They are stocky and short-tailed. The bird has a body length from beak to the tail of 16-25cm and a wingspan of 46-61cm to support its body weight during flight. Female birds are slightly heavier than males with their average weight at 194g while the male will weigh 166g on average.
Eastern Screech Owl Behavior
Even though their prime hunting times are at dawn and dusk, the Eastern Screech Owl is fairly active at night. Sometimes, it may hunt during the day making it a fairly easy bird to watch by birdwatchers. They sit and wait in tree branches for prey to pass below them then pounce from heights ranging 6-10 feet.
They are partly monogamous as they may match with one or two females during the breeding season. The male defends their territory especially those that have several cavities that act as roosting spots.
Eastern Screech Owl Food
Eastern Screech owls are opportunistic birds that consume a variety of foods. Their diets can
include birds, mammals, and a large number of small prey such as tadpoles, crayfish, insects, rats,
moles, rabbits, and earthworms. They also commonly hunt small birds such as swallows, thrushes,
waxwings, and flycatchers. Some Eastern Screech Owls have also been observed hunting larger
birds such as woodpeckers, doves, and jays. Eastern Screech Owls can adapt their feeding habits
to such an extent that they can turn also turn to cannibalism in absence of other food sources. If
these owls come across excessive food, they store it in tree holes for later consumption.
They feed on small mammals and insects. Insects include large beetles, moths, and crickets while small rodents range from mice, shrews, and sometimes bats. They also feed on frogs, lizards, crayfish, spiders, and earthworms.
Eastern Screech Owl Habitat
Eastern Screech Owls frequent open woodlands, parklands, suburban areas, forests in the vicinity to
coastal areas, and deciduous forests. These owls generally avoid areas that are inhabited by larger
owls. These nocturnal owls are one of the most skilled owls at adapting to heavy human
development in their areas — due to this feature of theirs, their populations are consistently steady.
Eastern Screech Owls have been observed nesting on top of streetlights, and on top of individual
trees that are surrounded by urban environments. To adapt to new environments these owls
change their eating habits to include prey that is abundantly available in their vicinity.
They can be found in farm groves, woodlands and in shade trees. They favor deciduous mixed woods.
Range and Migration
Eastern Screech Owls are small owls that are widespread throughout Eastern North America. The
highest populations of these owls have been observed from Mexico to Canada. These owls are
native to the regions they reside in and are extremely adaptive to human interference in their
Eastern Screech Owl Life Cycle
The Eastern Screech Owl has a lifespan of 14 years. The females lay between 2-6 eggs which they roughly incubate for 26 days when they are ready to hatch. The young birds are fed by both parents till when they are ready for flight at 4 weeks after the hatching date.
Eastern Screech Owl Nesting
Eastern Screech Owls exclusively nest in tree holes and cavities, but they have never been
observed to dig these up themselves. These owls depend on other factors to provide them with
ready-made nests which have an entrance of at least 2.8-7.9 inches. Eastern Screech Owls can
also nest in nest boxes, mailboxes, and empty forgotten crates. These owls are not bothered with
protecting or lining their nests, instead, they just lay eggs on the debris found at the bottom of nest
holes or nest boxes. Females lay about 2-6 eggs and incubate them for a period of 26-30 days.
These owls generally only raise one brood annually, but they may try for another if the first brood
fails to survive.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Eastern Screech Owls
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Eastern Screech Owls are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Eastern Screech Owl T-shirts
If you love the Eastern Screech Owl you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Eastern Screech Owl Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Eastern Screech Owl is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Eastern Screech Owl Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Eastern Screech Owl. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Eastern Screech Owls
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Eastern Screech Owls
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.