Eastern Screech Owl

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Strix acio

Habitat: Eastern screech owls live in the forests and wetlands of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. They prefer woodlands that are interspersed with the open clearings, meadows, and fields necessary for hunting.

Diet: Eastern screech owls eat large insects, small rodents, small birds, lizards, frogs, and sometimes small fish. 

Size: 0.6 to 0.8 feet tall / 1.5 to 2 foot wingspan

Weight: 0.3 to 0.4 pounds

Lifespan: 1 to 8 years in the wild. Up to 13 years in human care. 

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Least Concern – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to be pervasive, abundant, and thriving.

Our Screech Owls:

Rusty (Female) – Estimated Date of Birth February 2019
Pitch (Female) – Estimated Date of Birth March 2019

About Eastern Screen Owls:

One of the smallest species of owl found across North America, Eastern Screen Owls are very common across the entire eastern side of the United States. They – like most owls – are nocturnal and silently hunt during the night while retiring for the day in or on trees. Due to their size and tree bark coloration, they are very good at camouflage. However, their very distinctive call/trill or tremolo makes their presence clear.  This sound is often described as being very ethereal: it is high pitched and reverberating. 

Did You Know?!

  • Eastern Screech Owls have also been called the Common Screech Owl, Ghost Owl, Little-eared Owl, and Little Horned Owl.
  • Screech owls fly fairly rapidly with a steady wingbeat of about 5 flaps per second. 
  • When threatened, a screech owl will stretch its body and tighten its feathers in order to look like a branch snag to avoid detection, but will take flight when it knows it has been detected. 
  • Eastern screech owls have been known to bring other animals, such as snakes, into their nests to feed on the larval and pupal stages of parasitic insects that infest the nest cavity.

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 6/1 for wine in the wilderness and will reopen with normal hours on 6/2!