Eastern Screech-Owl  ( Petit-duc maculé )    This species is on the OBRC review list for northern Ontario.  All sightings should be documented and reported.

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Megascops asio

 (No high quality local photo available yet for this species.) 

General Notes

The Screech Owl in Ontario is primarily a species of mature deciduous woodlands south of the Canadian Shield, with lots of forest edge habitat. Their presence is not often detected, as they generally sleep away the daylight hours snuggled inside a tree cavity or nest box. Their presence is most commonly revealed by their eerie horse-whinny courtship calls and loud spooky trills at night. They are setting up and defending nesting territory in November and December, and can be quite vocal during this period. Nesting occurs between mid-March and early June.  This species responds well to broadcasts recordings of their call, as they are aggressive defenders of territory, and the limits of their range in southern Ontario have been well established using this technique.

Although they have been documented in the Sault Ste. Marie area, they have not been well documented from elsewhere in northern Ontario. Their range in Ontario is largely limited to the Lake Simcoe-Rideau Ecoregion and south. The presence of the Eastern Screech-Owl on the Timiskaming checklist is based on only one rather old record at this point. There are no recent confirmed observations, though there have been reports of suspected auditory evidence from reliable birders. It is important to keep in mind that some of the call types of the Eastern Screech Owl can bear a marked resemblance to other owl species more common in Timiskaming.

The official scientific name of the Eastern Screech Owl was changed in 2003 from Otus asio to Megascops asio. This change was to recognize the difference between the Eurasian screech owls, which stayed in the genus Otus, and the North American screech owls.

Abundance: Out of range
Breeding Status: Accidental

Documented Observations

1905, sometime between July 15 and August 18, one bird of the reddish phase observed in a tamarack swamp near Cobalt Lake in Cobalt by Mr. J. Wilbur Kay and Frederick C. Hubel, as reported in The Auk, Volume 24, No. 1, January-March 1907.