Eastern Screech Owls are robin-sized owls that are relatively comfortable living near people; you might even have a screech owl secretly living in your own backyard. You can even put up a nesting box for them (details here) and they might keep rodents off your lawn.
One of my goals is to find (or even just see) a screech owl hiding in broad daylight, camouflaged perfectly within the confines of a tree. Because I didn’t have those photos, I reached out to Matt Johnson and Nolan Schillerstrom of Audubon South Carolina, because I knew they had a few. Matt took these in Texas: I almost missed the owl entirely in the first photo: in the second you can see him perfectly blending in with their surroundings.
Nolan had a chance to see one in South Carolina and get a bunch of great screech owl photos: how about this cutie sleeping in a stump?!
I just have to include all of these, this owl is so cute!
The young owls in the photos were taken here on Dewees Island, during a spring bird count, when we discovered the youngsters peering out of an old wood duck box in the conservation area. It was a fun surprise doing research for this post at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds Screech Owl ID Info Page: and there was my own photo of young owls!
They eat insects, rodents, worms, songbirds, even bats, and then they spit out the undigestible parts as pellets. Sometimes I find these on the rooftop deck; a little clue to the presence of these cryptic birds.