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Eastern Screech-Owl

Silhouette OwlsOwls
Eastern Screech-OwlMegascops asio
  • ORDER: Strigiformes
  • FAMILY: Strigidae

Basic Description

If a mysterious trill catches your attention in the night, bear in mind the spooky sound may come from an owl no bigger than a pint glass. Common east of the Rockies in woods, suburbs, and parks, the Eastern Screech-Owl is found wherever trees are, and they’re even willing to nest in backyard nest boxes. These supremely camouflaged birds hide out in nooks and tree crannies through the day, so train your ears and listen for them at night.

More ID Info
image of range map for Eastern Screech-Owl
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Listen in wooded areas at night for the trills and whinnies of this vocal owl. Your best chance of seeing an Eastern Screech-Owl may be to listen for the excited voices of songbirds mobbing an owl they have found. You can also look closely at tree cavities and nest boxes; especially on cold sunny days, you may see the owl sunning sleepily in the entrance.

Other Names

  • Autillo Yanqui (Spanish)
  • Petit-duc maculé (French)

Backyard Tips

Eastern Screech-Owls readily accept nest boxes; consider putting one up to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site. These owls also use birdbaths and will visit them to drink and bathe.

  • Cool Facts