Feature Creature: Western Screech-Owl

Western Screech-Owls have very
noticeable ear tufts and yellow eyes.
Their colouring is a mottled brownish
grey, helping camouflage them with their 
Photo credit: S.Cannings

Who Who

The Western Screech-Owl is a small owl, mostly active at night, that lives in riparian woodlands (strips of habitat along creeks, rivers and streams) throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.  

Where is Home?

Western Screech-Owls nest in natural tree cavities, especially in large mature black cottonwood trees.  Loss of the strips of habitat along creeks, rivers and streams have caused stark population decline in Western Screech-Owls. As a result, they are listed as an Endangered species.

What's on the Menu?

Small rodents, frogs, reptiles including snakes, birds, large insects and earthworms.

What can you do to help Western Screech-Owls?
- Retain live and dead black cottonwoods to remain standing where safe to do so
- Exclude livestock, agricultural and urban development and destructive recreational activities from riparian areas.
- Install a Screech-Owl Nest Box.  Nest boxes are sold at the Osoyoos Desert Centre (a OSS Wildlife Habitat Steward) or learn how to construct one HERE.
- Help monitor Western Screech-Owls.  Listen for them at night, especially between February and April. Their call is a double trill song followed by what sounds like a bouncing ball.

- if you come across an injured Western Screech-Owl or bird of prey, contact SORCO.

Learn more about placing and caring for a Western Screech-Owl nest box HERE.