Eastern Screech Owl

January 31, 2018

An eastern screech owl yawns in the final light of afternoon after a long day of sleeping in its hollow.

My friend Tilda likes to check all of her favorite squirrel holes in the trees along her hikes at Shaw Nature Reserve. Last week, Tilda was surprised to find a tiny screech owl (probably a male) in one of the cavities in a sycamore tree. I wasn’t surprised to find that the hollow was facing southwest as screech owls love to sunbathe on cold winter days. I’ve photographed two screech owls in the last month and both of them were in southwest facing hollows. I’m sure south or southeast would be fine for them as well; they are pretty much at the mercy of whatever the pileated woodpeckers decided when they excavated the cavity in the first place.

After Tilda informed me of her find, I set out to capture some images of the tiny, red raptor. Most of my time was spent staring at an empty, black hole in the tree from a good distance away with my 500mm lens and 2x converter. Yes, that tiny opening in the sycamore was a long way up there. Finally, just as the sun was setting, the little screech owl cut me a break. The images in this edition are from that single, successful hour.

An eastern screech owl makes its first appearance late in the day. It reminded me of a hand-puppet as it rose from the darkness of the hollow to take a look around the forest.

A yawn is in order after sleeping all day in its cozy den.

After waking up, the screech owl surveys its surroundings.

Another nap is in order after a quick look around.

My favorite image of the series as the screech owl begins to wake up in earnest and contemplate the upcoming night of hunting.

I hope you enjoyed this photo-essay on one of my favorite Missouri critters. This edition should be a reminder to keep an eye on those south-facing hollows the next time you are on a winter walk in the woods. You might just get as lucky as Tilda and be rewarded with a wonderful sight.

Thanks for looking,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images/Print Information:  Danny’s Website

America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.



7 comments on “Eastern Screech Owl”

  1. Loved the Long Wait Owl!

  2. Love this, Danny! They are so cute! I just want to hold it! Love the series of photos in this story! Thanks for spending the time staring at a black hole to get these shots!

  3. Waiting was worth it! Lovely pictures!

  4. Oh how adorable this little guy is!! Great pictures!! Do I get usually use sycamore trees or will they use any tree?
    Thanks Ian trying to get more information on them so I can find one.

    Thanks again

    • Any tree with a good hollow but I see a lot of images of them in Sycamores, probably because they are often near water, as are sycamores.

  5. Danny, Thank’s for sharing those GREAT shots of that little Screech Owl. I will diffidently be on the lookout, next time I check out the lower half of our property, because there is many trees with hollowed out cavities, were they could reside.


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