(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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What Other Visitors Have Said

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What kind of owl is this?  
Sarnia, Ontario. This owl lives in a schoolyard directly behind us. It has shown up twice, that we have seen, during the day with kill. …

Eastern Screech Owl  
Visited this beautiful Screech Owl in Burlington, Ontario, today. I knew the Owl was roosting at this location and was sad it wasn't out at the time …

Is this a Screech Owl or Great Horned fledgling? Not rated yet
I discovered this little Owl perched in my barn last night on top of the hay feeder. It ignored me as I walked past him/her within a few feet while I …

Screech Owl Sightings Not rated yet
Henry Lopez from Burlington wrote ... My wife and I were sitting out in our backyard one late summer evening whhen an owl came and perched on a small rotten …

Surprised me Not rated yet
Early morning walking through my gardens when I looked up and was shocked to see this beautiful face watching me. We warily watched each other for …

Grey - Brown Screech Owls! Not rated yet
London, On. Family of six in our yard this year, mum, dad and 4 babes.

Waverly woods sighting Not rated yet
As we meandered the public trails at Waverly Beach Woods in Ontario Canada, where the old ruins of a theme park lay, with dirt trails, tall mainly deciduous …

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