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News Story
Updated: 08/02/2014 08:00:01AM

Help the Eastern Screech Owl

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GardGate073114A

PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (DICK DANIELS)

Eastern Screech Owls are well camouflaged and are found in three color forms—gray, brown and red. Most Florida screech owls are red or brown, but all three color forms are found and may occur in the same nest.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (WOLFGANG WANDER)

It is believed the gray-phase individuals are better able to withstand severe winters. A study in Ohio found that the red-phase birds have significantly higher metabolic requirements in temperatures below 23 degrees F and experienced a sharp population drop during severe winters.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (TRISHA M SHEARS)

The Eastern Screech Owl is Florida's smallest owl. Screech owls eat rodents and insects such as roaches and provide natural pest control. Because they can be poisoned by pesticide residues, don’t use toxins if you are encouraging screech owls or other birds to nest near your home.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (DICK DANIELS)

Wildlife rehabilitators receive hundreds of baby Eastern Screech-Owls each year. If a nestling is unable to fly, it may be placed in a tree to protect it from predators. In most cases the adults are nearby and will continue to care for the owlet.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (TRISHA M SHEARS)

The Eastern Screech Owl is Florida's smallest owl. Screech owls eat rodents and insects such as roaches and provide natural pest control. Because they can be poisoned by pesticide residues, don’t use toxins if you are encouraging screech owls or other birds to nest near your home.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (DICK DANIELS)

Wildlife rehabilitators receive hundreds of baby Eastern Screech-Owls each year. If a nestling is unable to fly, it may be placed in a tree to protect it from predators. In most cases the adults are nearby and will continue to care for the owlet.

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We used to hear Eastern Screech Owls all the time. Their soft rolling trill sounded something like a mourning dove. We also would occasionally see them roosting in our open pole barn. But it has been years since we’ve spotted one, and we haven’t heard them either—but that may be due to our aging ears. So we wondered, have we just not seen them, or is the screech owl population declining?

According to http://www.iucnredlist.org/ the Eastern Screech Owl is listed as a species of least concern, because of its extremely large range and large population which appears to be increasing. But their local population may be declining. The Eastern Screech Owl is Florida's smallest owl. It occurs in suitable habitat everywhere in the state except the lower keys.

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