Pete Dunne, in his Essential Field Guide Companion, calls the Eastern Screech Owl, The Owl Next Door. Look for him in cavities of trees and nest boxes.
This owl is small, stocky, and has angular features. In Florida, this owl may be seen in the grey, brown, or red morph. Its underparts include horizontal bars with vertical stripes. Its eyes are yellow and its bill dull yellow-green with a pale tip. Its widely spaced ear tufts may be raised or flattened, giving the head a different look.
The Eastern Screech Owl is a nocturnal perch-hunter,catching prey on the ground, in the air, or even in water. He makes meals of insects, mice, moles, flying squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, frogs, salamanders, and small birds. When he flies, he is likely to be close to the ground and flying direct with quick and even wing beats.
His vocalizations include descending nasal whinny or screech and a long low trill or trembling whistle on one pitch. Scolding chickadees and jays often alert birders to roosting Eastern Screech Owls.
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Cindy Rohkam rehabilitates juvenile screech owls and other wildlife for the South Florida Wildlife Center. We also work with the Sawgrass Nature Center and their ambassador live screech owl, Yoda.
The Sawgrass Nature Center (picture #4) and Brian Mealey of the Institute of Wildlife Sciences (pictures #1-3, 5)
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South Florida Audubon Society
PO Box 9644
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33310
954 776 5585