The screech-owl is probably one of America's favorite owls. You can even attract them with an owl house. Learn how to attract the screech-owl to your yard, and listen to its song.
Photo: Roland Jordahl
- Scientific Name: Otus asio and Otus kennicottii.
- Family: Owl.
- Length: 8-1/2 inches.
- Wingspan: 20 inches.
- Distinctive Markings: Gray, red or brown with heavy streaks below and darker bars on back; has small tufts that look like ears.
- Nest: In a natural cavitiy or large birdhouse, the female lays four to five white eggs, which she incubates for 26 days before they hatch. Both parents feed the young for the four weeks they're in the nest and for some time thereafter.
- Song: Not a screech, but a tremulous cry or whinny.
- Habitat: Villages, small woodlots, and old orchards.
- Diet: Insects, small mammals, birds, fish, spiders and reptiles. Owls swallow their prey whole and later regurgitate indigestible parts as so-called owl pellets.
- Backyard Favorites: A large birdhouse in which to roost and nest. Wood duck houses work well (10 inches square and 24 inches tall with an elipitical 4-by 3-inch entrance near the top.) May also use birdbaths at night.
Listen to this bird’s song