Screech Owl

The Screech owl is one of the smaller owls, standing just seven to ten inches tall when fully grown, but the noise that can emit from one of these tiny owls is nothing short of hair raising.

They emit a short series of very mellow sounding hoots, rather like a wooden flute once in a while, but more typical is the quavering eerie wail that echoes through the forests and outward.

A Screech Owl Infant
A Screech Owl Infant

The screech owl is in fact fairly easy for people to imitate and the imitations that people can do will very often get a resultant reply, or curious or outraged responses from other birds as well.

The screech owl is a nocturnal owl, and starts its hunting after sunset. A nocturnal bird, with activity begining after sunset. Similar to the Western Screech Owl.

Screech owls will hunt from dusk until dawn, most of their hunting being the first four or five hours after dark sets in.

Fledgling Screech Owl
Fledgling Screech Owl

Primarily they will perch and dive, but may hover. Mainly the screech owl will hunt in the woods, but will go out into the open field or a swampy area briefly.
They spot the prey, dive very rapidly and grasp their catch with very sharp talons.
Screech owls will also capture insects and take them as well.
The small prey is usually swallowed in one piece, while the larger prey is carried to a perch and torn with talons.
The Screech Owl will eat chipmunks, rats,squirrels, shrews, moles, as well as birds such as the grouse and quail.

Adult Screech Owl
Adult Screech Owl

The Screech owl will usually breed in April,and have a very unique courtship and mating ritual. Males approach females, calling from many different branches until they are close to the female and then will bob his head and swivel it and even wink at the female.
If she accepts the male as a mate she will move in closer and they will touch bills, and very often preen each other.
Screech owls will mate for life but if the previous mate disappears they will accept a new mate in its stead.

The Screech owl will almost always nest in the cavity of a tree, but will sometimes take over other birds nests, such as a used woodpecker nest that already sit inside the tree.

The female will lay about 4 or 5 eggs, but sometimes as many as 8 and in about 25 days they will begin to hatch.
The females do the incubating, but the males will help when necessary and also provide most of the food while the female is brooding.

**Special Thanks to Diana, a Fourth Grader at Centura School for finding the images for this article**

  • james cryptid

    i for one love owls they are my fav. bird of prey! my fav. owl is the great horned owl

  • celestial elf

    Your Screech Owl chick is possibly the cutest Owl ever seen haha
    Thankyou :D

  • Kamlesh Bisht

    It’s a nice thing to serve birds, how can we join your organisation can you guide me

  • Judy Tilton

    I need a little help. Last night I was sitting on my porch and heard an awful noise several blocks away. It sounded like an animal was being killed. Then everything got quiet. Suddenly, this noise was right across the street from me and made me jump out of my chair and run in the house. I don’t know what it was, but I have been thinking “screech Owl”. Maybe I am all wrong. I can’t find the sound anywhere on line but would love to know what it was. If anyone has an idea, please contact me.

  • yo mama

    Could somebody please find record breaking sizes, lifespans and number of young?

    Thank you

  • brooke

    please reference your stuff e.g. photos you didnt take them!

  • jordan

    i love owls my fave animal have to do report on bog turtle…uhhh

  • Juicy J:)

    me too wat school do u go to…???

  • HEY U!!!! :-) ;-)

    Hey! I’ve just read the book “Where the red fern grows” when the dogs are going to the championship billy hears 2 screech owls and he is afraid ’cause a superstition says that if u hear 2 screech owls it’s bad luck! Do u know something about it???

  • sierra

    i love owls there my fav.

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