Meet “Screech.” The Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii) is a small owl native to North and Central America, closely related to the European Scops Owl and the North American Eastern Screech Owl. The scientific name commemorates the American naturalist Robert Kennicott.
Screech is a permanent resident of the NWRC and a teaching bird.
The primary call is an accelerating series of short whistles at an increasing tempo or a short then long trill falling slightly at end. Other calls: barking and chuckling, similar to eastern. They also make a high pitched screech.
The western screech owl is native to Canada, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Its habitat includes temperate forests, subtropical and tropical montane forests, shrubland, desert, rural fields and even suburban parks and gardens.
They are permanent residents of the northwest North and Central America, breeding in open woods, or mixed woods at forest edges. They often use holes in tree cavities or cactus that were excavated by woodpeckers.
These birds wait on perches to swoop down on unsuspecting prey; they may also catch insects in flight. They are active at dawn, night or near dusk, using their excellent hearing and night vision to locate prey. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals such as mice or rats, birds, and large insects; however they are opportunistic predators, even taking small trout at night. Motion-activated cameras have photographed the birds eagerly scavenging a road-kill opossum. They have also been known to hunt Mallard ducks and cottontail rabbits, occasionally. Hatching of their young, usually four to five, is synchronized with the spring migration of birds; after migrants pass through screech-owls take fledglings of local birds.
Thanks Dena for sharing this gorgeous photo of Screech the Western Screech Owl by Clydee Hostetler