The Eastern Screech Owl is a small owl; it is also the only small owl in the eastern United States with ear tufts. This small owl is 7-10 inches long and has a wingspan of 18-24 inches.
The Eastern Screech Owl has 2 color phases- gray and red. In the gray phase, it has generally pale gray plumage barred with daker gray. The facial disc is bordered with black. The breast, throat and face are white. The red phase owls are reddish brown streaked with black on the top and white on the bottom. The face is mainly red-brown and the wing has a streak of white on it. The facial disc is lined with black. The red owls are generally found in warmer climates, and gray owls are found in more cold climates. No red owls are found west of the Rocky Mountains. The phases have intermediates and mates of both phases will produce "mixed" owls. Juveniles appear similar to the adults but are barred instead of streaked.
They nest in old woodpecker nests or tree cavities. 3-8 white eggs are laid in the hole without lining. The eggs are incubated for 26-28 days by the female only; the male hunts for food. The nestlings will fly about 4 weeks after hatching. The Screech Owl prefers trees and is rarely found out of forested areas.
They will eat large insects, rodents, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, bats, other screech owls and whatever else it can catch. They work as a wildlife population control; when a population increases, the Screech Owl takes more of that population until it returns to normal.
The Eastern Screech Owl is found from the U.S-Canadian border throughout the eastern United States west to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and into Mexico. It is considered common and has no special conservation status.