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Also known as...

Also known as...
Photo Information
Copyright: Greg Hume (greghume) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 212 W: 72 N: 575] (2160)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-06-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel XSi, Canon 70-200 F4 L USM IS
Exposure: f/4, 1/200 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-06-09 18:05
Viewed: 3440
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Eastern Screech Owl, Megascops asio, has a number of other names including Ghost Owl, Dusk Owl, Little-eared Owl, Spirit Owl, Little Dukelet, Texas Screech-Owl, whickering Owl, little gray Owl, mottled Owl, the red Owl, the mouse Owl, the cat Owl, the shivering Owl, and the little horned Owl. They are widely distributed in eastern North America from Canada to Mexico and as far west as Wyoming.

This individual has a damaged wing and is being cared for by Raptor, Inc.

The Eastern Screech-Owl flies fairly rapidly with a steady wingbeat (about 5 strokes/second). They rarely glide or hover, but may fly with erratic movements, when maneuvering through wooded areas. Their wings are broad and the head is held tucked in giving the bird a stubby appearance when flying. It is is a small, nocturnal, woodland Owl with two color morphs, a gray phase and a reddish-brown phase.

When threatened, an Eastern Screech Owl will stretch its body and tighten its feathers in order to look like a branch stub to avoid detection, but will take flight when it knows it has been detected. In open roosts, gray-phase birds tend to roost next to a tree trunk, whereas red-phase birds tend to roost in outer foliage, possibly because of thermal requirements.

Size: Female average Length:23cm (9.2") Wingspan:56cm (22") Weight:208g (7.3oz)
Male average Length:21cm (8.2") Wingspan:54 cm (21") Weight:200 g (7oz)

Habits: A nocturnal bird, with activity begining after sunset. Similar to the Western Screech Owl.

Eastern Screech Owls hunt from dusk to dawn, with most hunting being done during the first four hours of darkness. They hunt mainly from perches, occasionally hovering to catch prey. This Owl mainly hunts in open woodlands, along the edges of open fields or wetlands, or makes short forays into open fields. When prey is spotted, the Owl dives quickly and seizes it in its talons. They will also capture flying insects on the wing. Small prey will usually be swallowed whole on the spot, while larger prey is carried in the bill to a perch and then torn into pieces. An Eastern Screech Owl will tend to frequent areas in its home range where it hunted successfully on previous nights. They are opportunistic hunters and will switch to almost any suitably-sized prey when abundant. An extremely wide range of prey species is captured, the most favoured being small rodents and deer mice. Other mammals taken include wood and Norway rats, chipmunks, cotton rats, squirrels, shrews, bats, and moles. Large flying insects are also taken. Birds, including many species of small songbirds, and larger birds such as Northern Bobwhite, Rock Dove, and Ruffed Grouse comprise about 7% of an Eastern Screech Owl's diet.

Breeding season for Eastern Screech Owls is generally around mid April, but may range from mid March to mid May. They have an elaborate courtship ritual. Males approach females, calling from different branches until they are close. The male then bobs and swivels his head, bobs his entire body, and even slowly winks one eye at the female. If she ignores him, bobbing and swivelling motions intensify. If she accepts him, she moves close and they touch bills and preen each other. Pairs mate for life but will accept a new mate if the previous mate disappears. Gray and red color phases will mate together.

While captive Eastern Screech Owls have lived for over 20 years, wild birds would be unlikely to reach this age. Juvenile and adult mortality may be as high as 70% and 30% respectively. Predators of these Owls include Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, Long-eared Owls, Great gray Owls, Short-eared Owls, Snowy Owls, mink, weasels, raccoons, skunks, snakes, crows, and Blue Jays.

tuslaw, CeltickRanger, boreocypriensis, nasokoun, ubc64, Pearl, zetu, PeterZ has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-06-09 19:13]

Hello Greg,
Great shot of this Screech Owl, you show the beautiful camouflaged plumage wonderfully. Excellent detail and composed nicely on the diagonal branch.
I have never viewed one in the daylight, I think the only times I have even seen one has been in the headlights of my vehicle. Your notes are interesting, I never would have suspected that a Blue Jay could or even would try to take on an Owl.

hello Greg

an excellent close-up photo of the Eastern Screech Owl,
with fine frontal POV, fine focus with excellent sharpness
and details, here on this photo you are showing us his
superb camouflage from a closer view, we would think
it is part of the wood, and a owl style wonderful eye-contact,
i loved that all other names is known this owl, TFS


Amazing capture Greg,
You've captured amazing sharp detail and depth in this shot.
Fantastic work.
Cheers & TFS

Hi Greg, a superb frontal capture of this very beautiful and cute Eastern Screech Owl which it is also a novelty for me. It has a exremely camouflage colour and pattern like a dried tree trunk. Perfectly shown and captured!
TFS and cheers,

hello Greg
splendid scene, very good glance and great capture
TFS and thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • ubc64 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 76 W: 21 N: 208] (789)
  • [2009-06-09 23:39]

Hi Greg,

Beautifully taken owl! Your notes mention that it tries to pass itself off as a branch stub when it is threatened. It sure looks like it could be a piece of a tree. It would have to shut those big eyes though. Great detail, colora and BG. Very well done photo! TFS.


  • Great 
  • Pearl Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 105 W: 25 N: 76] (321)
  • [2009-06-10 1:37]

Hello Greg,

Lovely shot of this owl. The details are wonderful with excellent sharpness and lighting. The composition is very nice with good POV. TFS.


  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-06-10 5:47]

Hello Greg
Wonderful and perfect capture. Excellent details, clear BG and beautiful colors.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-06-10 10:10]

Hello Greg,
I've seen a lot of photos of this owl, but this is the best! Fantastic sharpness, details and clarity in the photo. Great colours, also in the OOF BG. Excellent frontal POV and DOF.

  • Great 
  • xramm (37)
  • [2009-08-23 22:57]

Most of your photo are good captured. I thought when I see this one , bird is well camouflaged as its color if he is on rocks. By the way, probably you took this shot in close distance. Congratulations.

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