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Animal Educators Blog

Animal Educators Blog

The Eastern Screech Owl

Posted on January 27, 2020 at 10:50 AM

If you haven't been introduced yet, meet Ruby, our Eastern Screech Owl. 

Ruby's journey to us began in 2017. Ruby, like many other Birds of Prey, was unfortunately hit by a car and left with injuries. After a lengthy stay at a rehabilitation center, Ruby was deemed non-releaseable due to blindness in her left eye. She is unable to be released back into the wild, so one option for her was to become an Education Bird. Ruby found a home here at Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center, where she is loved and cared for every day by our Animal Education Director, Dennis Goodin. 

Eastern Screech Owls are native to the Eastern United States and can be found anywhere east of Texas. Here in North Carolina, you will find them in the Piedmont or nestled away in the evergreen or deciduous forests of the Appalachian Mountains. They are a cavity nester, meaning they find places in trees, such as old woodpecker holes, to nest in and stay out of predators sight. 

The Eastern Screech Owl can be found in 2 colors, a Gray Phase and a Red Phase (also known as Rufous). Their colors will not change like other Raptors after their first molt, if they are hatched a red phase they will continue to be a red phase. The coloring and patterns give them almost perfect camoflage against tree bark. These little owls look like a miniature version of a Great Horned Owl due to the ear tufts on top of their heads, the tufts aid in camoflage when up against a tree. 

Ruby, and many other Owls, are crepuscular birds. Meaning they are not diurnal and not nocturnal! They like to hunt during dawn and dusk and sleep during times when most of their predators are out hunting. Remember raptors are meat eaters, so these birds eat things such as mice, voles, small rats, large insects, and other small animals. 

Come meet Ruby and her Animal Educator friends at Allison Woods OLC to learn more about Birds of Prey! 

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