(Megascops Asio)

Two Screech owls on a tree in the snow

The Eastern Screech Owl of Southern Ontario is restricted to the Americas and is not found elsewhere.

As with many other owls, the female is larger than the male and the Eastern Screech Owl is also one of the smaller species in North America.

These birds are small and agile and are usually found in shades of brown with the undersides being of a white pattern, however, they are sometimes found in shades of gray and reddish-brown.

These small, nocturnal birds hunt from perches, often an old tree, using their excellent hearing to locate their victims, usually in open woodland.

From there they swoop down onto their prey, such as mice, squirrels, chipmunks, bats, insects, reptiles and small birds and usually return to their nest to dine.

Screech owl asleep in a hole in a tree

These birds are usually solitary except during the winter breeding season.

When trying to attract a mate, the male will select a tree cavity and try to attract a female to it, whilst going through a mating ritual.

During the mating ritual he will approach a female, getting close to her and then bobbing and swiveling his body whilst winking at his intended - if she ignores him, he intensifies his display, but if she accepts him, they begin preening each other.

The lucky female will have selected her mate based, we think, on the beauty of the males display, the quality of the tree cavity and the food provided for her!

Once mated, the pair are monogamous and lay between 3 and 5 eggs, which take about 26 days, with both parents taking care of the young owlets which are fledged in around 31 days.

Pairs often mate for life, but if one partner dies or disappears the other will accept a new mate.

If you want to attract these Owls to your property, consider building or buying an Owl House as they readily accept this accommodation and will nest there - if you're lucky you may attract a breeding pair.  Just remember to put it up before the breeding season starts.

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Screech Owl Info ...

The Screech Owl - All About Birds - the habitat and habits of this small Owl

The Owl Pages - Screech Owl
Lots of lovely info about this little owl

The pictures on this page are courtesy of Dreamstime
© Outdoorsman |

© Claudine Besse |

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