Bird Species Profile: Eastern Screech-Owl

This bird species makes one of my favorite calls of any owl.

Rob Ripma

Owls are one of my favorite bird families. There is just something about them that draws me in. Maybe it’s the fact that they can be a little hard to find and photograph or maybe it’s the incredible calls that they make, but no matter what it is, I always get excited when I see or hear owls. We only get 3 species that regularly occur around my home in Indiana, and of those the tiny Eastern-Screech Owl has my favorite call. They make several different calls including a whinny and a trill. You can listen to their calls on the site All About Birds by The Lab of Ornithology at Cornell.

This Eastern Screech-Owl had perched for the day along the boardwalk at Magee Marsh during the Biggest Week in American Birding. Hundreds of people got to enjoy seeing this individual!This Eastern Screech-Owl had perched for the day along the boardwalk at Magee Marsh during the Biggest Week in American Birding. Hundreds of people got to enjoy seeing this individual!

This Eastern Screech-Owl had perched for the day along the boardwalk at Magee Marsh during the Biggest Week in American Birding. Hundreds of people got to enjoy seeing this individual!

This bird species can be very hard to spot, and finding a perched bird like the one in the photo above can be extremely difficult. One of the best ways (other than luck) is to listen for small songbirds making alarm calls. If you hear a big group of birds making these calls, they just might be mobbing a predator. This is one of the best ways to find any species of owl!

If you have seen or heard this species around your home, I encourage you to consider putting up a nest box. Screech-Owls are cavity nesters and will occupy a nest box if it’s available!

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