Screech Owls are a common little owl often
found in residential areas and parks, where their haunting calls are often the
only indication of their presence. They are nocturnal, but can
occasionally be spotted on perches in thick tree canopies during the day. There are various color morphs, but
the gray morph is generally the most common in the state A red morph is shown in
the top photo, but photos of both the gray and red morph can be seen in the photo
links at the bottom of the page.
Habitat: Open forest, isolated groves, residential
shade trees. Generally needs dead trees with nesting holes.
Diet: Mostly insects and small rodents. Will also eat
frogs, lizards, earthworms, crustaceans, and small birds.
Behavior: Forages at night, primarily by watching
from a perch and swooping down when prey is spotted. They can find
prey both by sight and by sound, and are also capable of catching insects in
Nesting: April and May in South Dakota. The nest
of an Eastern Screech Owl is a cavity in a tree, often an old woodpecker hole.
They also have become well adapted to the use of nest boxes specially sized for
screech owls. The female alone incubates the eggs, but the male will bring
food to her during incubation. Both parents will help to raise the young.
Song: Haunting descending whinny.
Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout
it's normal range.
Nestboxes: Will use artificial nest boxes of
Conservation Status: Widespread, with numbers generally stable.
Well adapted to a human presence. The IUCN currently lists the Eastern
Screech Owl as a species of "Least Concern".
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Eastern Screech Owl"
-- Eastern Screech Owl
Photo Information: June 11th, 2006 - Beaver Creek
Nature Area, Minnehaha County, South Dakota- Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Eastern Screech Owl photos.