Normally we feature songbirds but we felt that since it’s a new year, this month we wanted to feature a new kind of bird. The Eastern Screech Owl is found year-round in nearly every habitat throughout the eastern United States and southern Canada. It is common in urban as well as rural areas. This small owl’s weight ranges between four and nine ounces and has a wingspan of 18 to 24 inches. These owls can be red or gray with about 1/3 of all individuals being red screech owls. January and February are prime courtship and nesting time for many owl species. This means that the owls may be calling in the middle of the night, communicating with potential mates and rivals. Take a moment to step outside and give a listen. To know what you are listening for scroll down and press play the hear the Eastern Screech Owl! The trilling song on one pitch, sometimes know as the Bounce Song, is used by a pair or family of owls to keep in contact when finding a nesting site or food. The descending Whinny is used in territory defense. Pairs are usually monogamous and remain together for life. Some males, however, will mate with two different females. The second female may evict the first one, lay her own eggs in the nest and incubate both clutches. Screech Owls nest in tree cavities but also will readily use nest boxes. They do not need any additional nesting material to the cavities. These beautiful birds are sit-and-wait predators. They hunt at night and in the evening but will occasionally hunt during the day. The Eastern Screech Owl eats a variety of small animals. Two captive males can eat from 1/4 – 1/3 of their own body weight in food each night, but sometimes will skip a night and store food instead. Preferred feed this predator includes insects, crayfish, earthworms, rodents and unfortunately songbirds.