About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio
Order: STRIGIFORMES Family: True Owls (Strigidae)

The Eastern Screech Owl has two color morphs (variations in color), reddish and gray. The gray individuals are more common in Michigan because they are better at withstanding our cold winters. The breast and belly are heavily streaked and spotted with black. Males and females look alike. They are approximately eight inches tall and weigh about 6 ounces. They have yellow eyes and ear tufts. The Eastern Screech Owls have a pale bill and make a “horselike” whinny vocalization that rises and falls.

Screech Owls are nocturnal and rarely seen hunting or feeding. Their diet is the most varied of any North American owl species, and is region-specific. They feed on insects, crayfish, earthworms, and all classes of vertebrates, including songbirds, fish, amphibians, and small mammals such as squirrels, shrews, rabbits, bats, and rodents. The owls swoop down from their perch to capture their prey. Screech Owls cache uneaten prey items in cavities.

Screech Owls do not migrate. They maintain home ranges throughout the winter. Pairs occasionally roost together during the winter in hollow trees, nest boxes, and trees with dense foliage.

All owls have exceptional hearing. They have ears right behind their face that are lopsided. This allows for exceptional depth perception and can help them locate prey items without using their eyes.

They regurgitate pellets which consist of bones and fur from prey items. They do this with the parts of food that would take a long time to digest. This helps them save energy.

A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls.

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