If you are looking for something new to discover in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP), now is the time for your journey to begin. The Eastern Screech Owl is among the more common owls found within the park. This owl's peak breeding activity takes place during February and March, making it the most likely time of the year to spot one of these fascinating creatures.
The Screech Owl is small in stature, standing only seven to nine inches tall. It is a permanent resident of Northeastern Ohio and its diet consists of mice, amphibians, small mammals and large insects. It has two distinct color morphs- it can be either uniformly gray or uniformly rufous (a reddish-brown color - as pictured at right). Both color morphs help offer camouflage against the bark of trees. The Screech Owl typically nests within cavities of mature trees. It has an eerie song, a trembling wail or soft trill. Some say it sounds like the soft whining of a horse. If you hear this sound in the still of the winter night, an Eastern Screech Owl may be softly calling you.
There are no particular "hot spots" to get a glimpse of a screech owl in CVNP. However, these owls nest in holes in tree trunks so it may be beneficial to carry a pair of binoculars with you and take a close look when you see a hole. If you’re fortunate enough to spot one of these owls in the coming month, make sure to share your experience on our Facebook page!