Eastern Screech Owl

What do on your week off when you have a bad cold and don’t want to spread your germs? For me I spent the last two days of my vacation driving up and down rural roads looking at tree holes for owls.

Screech owl eyes slightly opened

One one rural road I kept hearing a call of a saw whet owl. I felt like it was teasing me. I have heard they usually hang out at our eye level, but I had no luck and was not going to walk on private property to search further. I did know the direction it was coming from.

He was enjoying the sunlight. I would think the cold wind would have bothered him though.
The photos before this one he was in the top hole. Then he went inside the tree for a few minutes and then appeared at the bottom hole. This owl has a townhouse with two decks!

On another rural road that I drove up and down searching the holes I found one occupied by a screech. Screech owls are very small. Notice they block almost the entire tree hole and blend in with the tree so they are hard to spot.

It was a very windy day and the clouds came in so the lighting conditions also were not optimal. It was hard to keep my camera steady and this was near the top of a high area. I hope to return to this spot in the future hoping the wind level is less.

When you can,

go slow and stop along the way. You never know what you will find on rural roads.

25 thoughts on “Eastern Screech Owl”

    1. They seem to be in higher wooded areas (big hills, small mountains) with small tree holes the size of their body. They like holes that are about their own size. Never thought I would find one. A relative had some on their property about 2 or more years ago, but an eagle built a nest on a neighbour’s land and the screeches have not been back. This one was in a tree next to a very rural road.

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    1. You want to give the great horned a lot of space. They will attack a person. If you have heard ta screech and the land is public walk around looking for tree holes about 20 feet up. They like holes that are about their size. Why it is so hard to find them is that they cover the hole and they blend in well. They like to sleep in the tree hole entrance sunning themselves during the day. I went up and down this long rural road for two days. There were a lot of tree holes about the right size. Was surprised they were in one so close to the road.

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      1. We live in a forest so are surrounded by predators, feathered and furred. Our red tailed hawk snatched one of our squirrels off the fence… I haven’t seen a great horned owl but they hoot (really loudly) in the tree outside my bedroom window. I think I might go to the untouched part of the forest and have a hunt for screech owls.

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      2. I had a barred owl outside my window one morning. I got excited as one tree behind me has a large enough hole for them to nest in. No such luck. Lots or squirrels behind me. Lots or birds as well that I feed. A hawk came last winter and tried to pick off a few of the feeder visitors. Maybe you should put out a critter cam.

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      3. I try to think of the little fluffy baby hawks who need lunch too… We have a critter cam and got some hilarious videos of our garden visitors trying avocado for the first time. I have still to process them but have plans for a tiny taco truck out back…LOL!
        I would be very excited about a barred owl!

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