Eastern Screech Owl
• Peak Breeding Activity: February-March
• Incubation: 26-34 days
• Clutch Size: 3-8 eggs
• Young Fledge: 28 days after hatching; independent at 8-10 weeks
• Typical Foods: insects, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, and birds
Distinguishing features of the screech owl include its small size, prominent ear tufts and large yellow eyes. It occurs in two color phases, gray and red.
Habitat and Habits
This is a fairly common permanent resident in Ohio. It lives in towns, orchards and small woodlots. When disturbed or frightened these birds assume a very erect, slender, "frozen" position with the ears especially erect. Their diet consists of mainly mice and large insects. The song is an eerie, trembling wail and a soft trill.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
The nest is in a natural cavity, or sometimes in a wood duck nesting box. The three to eight white eggs are laid without any nesting material. Eastern screech owls are particularly aggressive near the nest and will come down and strike a person on the head if he approaches too close.