Owls make lots of unusual noises; they hoot, toot, scream, bark, hiss, and screech. So of course the Screech Owl must be the “screecher”, right? Not necessarily.
There are three species of Screech Owls in North America and only one is known for its screech. However, the unique voices of the Screech Owls do play an important role in distinguishing the three species from one another.
Though the three species may look similar, to a trained ear, the call of the Western Screech Owl sounds quite different than that of the Eastern or Whiskered Screech Owl. The double trill and soft hooting of the Western Screech Owl is often heard in riparian areas, this owl’s habitat of choice. Riparian areas are the forested areas along rivers and streams. These zones are rich with life, filled with reptiles, amphibians, insects, birds, and small mammals- all favored prey of this owl.
Western Screech Owls can be found in other areas where these food sources are abundant; they may be found in forests and deserts too, but one thing is for sure- Western Screech Owls are only found “out west”.
Maps provided by The Birds of North America Online and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.