Screech Owl

It’s difficult to distinguish between Eastern and Western Screech Owl species by sight - location is your best bet. However, they have distinctive voices, which is undoubtedly more important for these birds that are active mainly at night.

Screech Owl

Roland Jordahl Screech Owl

Scientific Names: Eastern - Megascops asio and Western – M. kennicottii.
Family: True owl.
Length: 8-1/2 inches.
Wingspan: 20 inches.
Distinctive Markings: The eastern screech-owl is Gray, red or brown with heavy streaks below and darker bars on back; small ear-like tufts on head, yellow bill The western is similar but is almost always gray, and it has a dark gray bill.Nest: The female lays four to five white eggs in debris at the bottom of the nesting cavity.
Voice: The eastern makes a tremulous whinny or a long trill; the western makes an accelerating series of short whistles, or a double trill.
Habitat:  Many kinds of woodlands, parks, backyards, deserts.
Diet: Insects, small mammals, birds, fish, spiders and reptiles.
Backyard Favorite: Nest box.

Listen to the Screech Owl’s song and learn where to spot them.

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Eastern:

Eastern Screech-Owl Bird Species

Western:

Western Screech-Owl Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

Photos

Information

Screech Owl

Roland Jordahl Screech Owl

Scientific Names: Eastern - Megascops asio and Western – M. kennicottii.
Family: True owl.
Length: 8-1/2 inches.
Wingspan: 20 inches.
Distinctive Markings: The eastern screech-owl is Gray, red or brown with heavy streaks below and darker bars on back; small ear-like tufts on head, yellow bill The western is similar but is almost always gray, and it has a dark gray bill.Nest: The female lays four to five white eggs in debris at the bottom of the nesting cavity.
Voice: The eastern makes a tremulous whinny or a long trill; the western makes an accelerating series of short whistles, or a double trill.
Habitat:  Many kinds of woodlands, parks, backyards, deserts.
Diet: Insects, small mammals, birds, fish, spiders and reptiles.
Backyard Favorite: Nest box.

Bird Song & Range Map

Listen to the Screech Owl’s song and learn where to spot them.

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Eastern:

Eastern Screech-Owl Bird Species

Western:

Western Screech-Owl Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

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  1. Marlene Renz says

    We had a loud screech owl that spent many nights sitting in a tree near our bedeoom window. After we hung a weathervane on the roof of a shed, far back in our yard, he moved to a tree near it, and never kept us awake again.

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