Oliver – Eastern Screech Owl
Received: March 24, 2014
Oliver was received at the World Bird Sanctuary on 3/24/14 from the Carolina Raptor Center. He had been deemed unreleasable due to damage to his left eye that would have rendered him unable to hunt successfully in the wild. His right eye is good, but not perfect. The eye damage was due to trauma. Other than the eye damage Oliver is in good health and flies well.
We believe Oliver is a male due to his size, but as with most raptors this is an educated guess since both sexes are marked alike. Oliver is a good example of a grey phase Screech Owl, and as such will do his part to educate the public about the two different color phases (grey and red) of his species.
Species: Eastern Screech Owl
Latin Name: Otus asio
Description: smallest eared owl in the eastern US; color ranges from grey to brown to reddish, but considered to be found in 2 color phases; gray found mostly in the north; red found mostly in the south; plumage is an excellent example of cryptic camouflage; color pattern of plumage resembles the bark of the trees so closely they are nearly invisible when still; identified by ear tufts and textured coloration
Sex: no visible differences between male and female
Age: up to 13 years
Weight: 5-9 oz.
Habitat: wood lots, heavily wooded regions in rural areas, wooded strips of residential areas
Status: populations currently stable due to its ability to adapt to residential areas; often falls victim to vehicle collisions
Range: United States east of the Rocky Mountains and into northeastern Mexico
Behavior: nests in natural tree cavities, old woodpecker holes or man-made nest boxes; female lays 4-6 eggs that are incubated for 25-27 days; both parents feed the young; owlets leave the nest in about 4 weeks, but will be tended by the parents for another 5-6 weeks; can reproduce at 1 year of age
Diet: mainly insects, small mammals, birds, crayfish and earthworms
Vocalization: call is a long, high-pitched, trilling call
- have been known to visit backyard birdfeeders at night, where they hunt from a perched position then swoop down to catch the mice that come to feed on fallen seed
- this bird is fond of bathing and has been known to visit backyard birdbaths at night
- although small, this owl is fearless and has been known to dive at dogs, cats and even humans when defending its young