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.
Those baby owls are even featured on the cover of our new book, which is finally out. You can buy from amazon here or from our website here.