Jun 19, 2005

Eastern Screech-Owl



Eastern Screech-Owl
Otus asio

Description:
10" (25 cm). A small, mottled owl with prominent ear tufts; yellow to gree eyes. Both rufous and gray color phases occur, as well as brownish intermediates.

Habitat:
Open deciduous woods, woodlots, suburban areas, lakeshores, old orchards.

Nesting:
3-8 white eggs placed without a nest lining in a cavity in a tree or in a nest box.

Range:
Resident from Canada├»¿½s southern prairie provinces east to southern Maine, and south to Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

Voice:
A tremulous, descending wail; soft purrs and trills.

Discussion:
These common owls are fearless in defense of their nests and will often strike unsuspecting humans on the head as they pass nearby at night. When discovered during the day, they often freeze in an upright position, depending on their cryptic coloration to escape detection. The two color phases, which vary in their relative numbers according to geography, are not based on age, sex, or season.