Eastern Screech Owl

Scientific Name: 
Otus asio (OH-tus AH-sih-oh)
Bat Habitat Range
Range: 
Eastern North America from southern Canada to southern Texas and Mexico, west to the Rocky Mountains
Habitat: 
Found in woodlands bordered by open fields, as well as wetlands, orchards, towns, suburban parks and gardens.
Lifespan: 
Average in the wild:14 years. It is estimated that only 30-50% of young survive their first year.
Diet: 
Highly varied diet consists of large insects, crayfish, all classes of vertebrates including: birds, fish, amphibians, and small mammals such as flying squirrels, shrews, rabbits, bats, and rodents.
Reproduction: 
Breeding usually occurs once a year, but a second clutch may be attempted in areas with dense resources. Most eastern screech-owls form pair bonds for life though some mate switching occurs after unsuccessful nesting attempts, also some males have been observed nesting simultaneously and sequentially with more than one female. Males defend territories in which they may maintain several nesting sites. Females lay 2 to 8 eggs per season; incubation is 26 to 34 days. Females incubate the eggs and brood the young during which time the males feed females and guard nest cavities. The young leave the nest at about 28 days and remain with the parents until they are 8 to 10 weeks old. Both parents feed the young during this period.
Of Special Interest: 
Screech owls help control populations of potential pests such as mice and some insects.
Description: 
Weight: 88–220 g (3–8 oz); wingspan: 46 cm–61cm (18–24 in.) Females are usually larger than males. Identified by prominent ear tufts and white "eyebrows". Two distinct color phases, gray and rufous plus blendings of the two.
Roost: 
Natural cavities or those created by other animals; will also use nest boxes. A pair will often keep the same nest winter and summer. Screech owls do not migrate but in severe winters, they may shift locations to find food. These owls are mostly solitary, except during the mating season and during winters when mates share a winter nest.
Conservation Status: 
Considered the most common owl in North America. All owls are protected by state and federal regulations. It is illegal to capture or kill an owl; it is also illegal to possess an owl, living or dead, without the proper permits from local state governments, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
At OBC: 
Otus was struck by a car, which resulted in the eye injury that makes it impossible to re-release him into the wild.
Threats: 
Adults and fledglings are preyed on by larger owls, hawks; eggs and nestlings may be taken by snakes, opossums, and raccoons. Also put at risk by pesticide use and being killed or injured by cars when hunting low over roadways; helped by the provision of nest boxes.

Printable Information: 
© 2012 Organization for Bat Conservation
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