Painting and article by Kathryn Mann
As a morning person I rarely go out looking for birds after sunset, but when I do I go to Lake Copan which is about 15 miles north of Bartlesville, to look for Eastern Screech-Owls. The Screech-Owl is a very small owl, usually no taller than 6.5 inches and weighing about 5 ounces.
Screech-Owls are nocturnal and do most of their hunting during the first four hours after sunset. They hunt from the air by swooping down to grab their victims which include flying insects like moths and locusts, as well as rodents. They also sometimes hunt European Starlings, one of my least favorite birds.
I painted this screech-owl from a composite of several photos I took. Screech-Owls come in two colors, greyish brown, which is more common in Oklahoma, and brownish grey. The primary model for this painting had a reddish brown coloring, but I have given him the more common grey colorization.
The Eastern Screech-Owl's call is a long trill that begins with a high pitch which changes slowly to a vibrato. They do not screech. Eastern Screech-Owls are monogamous and remain together for life.
On rare occasions someone will spot a Western Screech-Owl in Oklahoma. The biggest difference between the two is their bill. The Eastern Screech Owl's bill is greyish green, while the Western variety is black.