Plate 33: Mottled Owl (Eastern Screech Owl)

Megascops asio

Nests & Eggs: Eastern Screech Owl

Small night bird known by its distinct and spooky call.



The Screech Owl is the smallest of the eared owls, about robin size. In fact he often nests in holes built by larger woodpeckers such as flickers. Like other owls, he hunts at night when his quavering call blends with the murmur of the night breeze. Mice, shrews, beetles, moths, crayfish, frogs and small birds seem to furnish a well-rounded diet.

These small owls have 2 distinct color phases, one a rich brown, the other a soft gray. Both blend with the bark of trees thus giving them protection. This is one of the mysteries of the bird world. Just why do these owls wear different colors? Both colors are often found in the same brood.

Even tho small, they give a good account of themselves and soon let you know when they have young in the vicinity. The parents defend their young against all comers and often surprise innocent persons who may stroll too close to the young only to be attacked by the irate parents.

This bird prefers open woodlands, orchards and clearings and often spends the day in the same cavities which are used for nesting. Some even spend the day in evergreens, but soon attract the attention of other birds which hate all owls and soon make their feelings known.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol 1
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the story of Spooky the Owl from The Burgess Bird Book referenced below out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XXXIII: Mottled Owl, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Eastern Screech Owl at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The screech owl is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XLII: Peter Learns Something About Spooky.

Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Mottled Owl (Eastern Screech Owl) Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Screech Owl
Bird picture for notebook.

Spooky the Screech Owl
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Eastern Screech Owl Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

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