Eastern Screech Owl
Estimated Wild Population
Eastern screech owls are a mix of white, gray, and reddish-brown—coloration that helps them blend into the branches and trees. These predators can reach up to nine inches tall with a wingspan of nearly two feet. Females are slightly larger than males. They prey on a wide variety of insects and small animals, including mice, snakes, lizards, salamanders, and small birds. Females lay eggs in tree cavities, hollows, and even abandoned woodpecker holes, and breeding pairs often return to the same nest year after year.
Interesting Fact 1
Eastern screech owls don’t build a nest. Instead, females lay their eggs directly on the layer of fur and feathers left over from their previous meals, which lines the bottom of their den.
Interesting Fact 2
Their serrated flying feathers help muffle the sound of their flapping wings, enabling them to sneak up on their prey.
Interesting Fact 3
Their yellow eyes are so large that they can’t move in their sockets. In order to look around, they have to turn their neck, which can rotate up to 270 degrees in either direction.
Commitment to Care
Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.
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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.