More info: Eight species of owls either nest or regularly visit Pennsylvania in winter. Some species like the great horned owl, barred owl, and Eastern screech-owl are permanent residents. Barn owls, long-eared owls, short-eared owls, and northern saw-whet owls nest in the state but are migratory. Snowy owls are winter visitors. Migrant owl populations seem to reflect the abundance of prey populations, so they vary greatly from year to year.
The eastern screech owl is a short, stocky bird, with a large head and almost no neck. It has rounded wings and a short square tail. It has pointed ear tufts which are often raised, giving its head a distinctive silhouette.
Eastern screech owls can be either mostly gray or mostly reddish-brown (rufous). Whatever the overall colour, they are patterned with complex bands and spots that give the owl excellent camouflage against the bark of trees. The eyes are yellow.
The screech-owl’s diet is quite varied, perhaps the most varied of any North American owl, and includes many kinds of small animals. Large insects such as grasshoppers, katydids, moths and beetles, mice, shrews, rats, squirrels, rabbits, small birds.