Western Screech Owl

Megascops kennicottii

Animal Ambassadors

Van Gogh

Western screech owls are a small species of owl common throughout the West. They are closely related to their eastern counterpart, the Eastern Screech Owl, but make different vocalizations. Contrary to their name, western screech owls don’t actually make a “screeching” noise; their primary call is a descending series of whistled notes that ends with a short trill. These small but tenacious hunters are primarily crepuscular, pursuing small mammals, birds, fish, bats, and a wide range of invertebrates. Due to their small size, they are also predated by larger animals such as hawks, skunks, snakes, or larger owls. Luckily, screech owls have excellent camouflage that helps them blend into the tree bark, allowing them to stay concealed from both predators and prey. Like many small birds, western screech owls are cavity nesters. They occupy holes created by woodpeckers or naturally-occuring crevices. Western screech owls are often displaced from their preferred riparian habitats by human development; one way we can help is by providing owl boxes for them to nest in!

Small rodents, amphibians, insects
West of the Rockies, from SE Alaska to Mexico
7-12 years / 20 years
Riparian zones, woodlands, orchards, urban areas
Length / Wingspan:
8 inches
5 oz