This Eastern Screech Owl Was Hit By Train


But don’t worry, the train was fine.

This small red morph Eastern screech owl was admitted on October 18, 2023, after being struck by a train in Berger, MO. The finder promptly transported him to us. Surprisingly, his injuries were limited to some head trauma and ocular damage. He spent two weeks recovering indoors before being moved to an outdoor enclosure for live prey testing and flight conditioning. He passed with flying colors and was ready for release!

Eastern screech owls are one of the most common and adaptable owls in North America, frequently making their homes in human-modified landscapes. They inhabit a wide variety of environments, ranging from deciduous forests and mixed woodlands to suburban backyards, city parks, and orchards. These owls are primarily nocturnal, but they can occasionally be seen during the day, especially at dawn and dusk, when they are most active.

The Eastern screech owl is a master of camouflage, with its plumage mimicking the bark of trees, in two distinct color morphs: gray and red, allowing it to blend seamlessly into its environment. They are opportunistic hunters, with a diet that varies based on what’s available in their habitat. This can include small mammals, insects, birds, and even reptiles. Interestingly, they also exhibit a fascinating behavior known as “caching,” where they store surplus prey items in tree cavities for later consumption, demonstrating a remarkable level of foresight and planning.

You can see the video of this screech owl’s release below!

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