Easterm Screech-Owl, Megascops asio
(formerly called Otus asio)
Strigidae or Owl Family

Adult in tree

Small owl, about the size of a fist, short and stocky. Two color forms, rufous brown or gray. Both versions intricately barred and spotted to camouglage it against tree bark. Eyes are yellow and ear tufts are often erect. Hunt by night, eating mostly insects, but also rodents, small birds, and even fish and snakes. Roost in tree cavities or on branches by day. Lay their eggs in tree cavities. Because of their small size and good camouflage they are more often heard than seen. Cry is described as a spooky trill, not a screech.

Common owl of woodlands. Likely common in Wildwood and surrounding areas. (The one potographed, however, was a captive owl seen at the Radford Roosting Festival.)

The Western Screech-Owl is similar, but found only in the west. The Northern Saw-whet Owl is also similar, but lacks ear tufts; it has not been reported from the Park.

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