Eastern Screech Owl Sounds (Their TWO haunting calls!)

Eastern Screech Owls are known for making many different noises, from songs to hoots to rattles to bill snaps. My favorite sound is definitely their whinny (sound #2).

eastern screech owl calls, sounds, whinny, hoots, tremolo, trill

Below, you are going to learn how to identify the CALLS, SOUNDS, and HOOTS of an Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio). These common birds are heard across North America in many different habitats.

Eastern Screech Owl Calls:

  • Make sure to press PLAY on the audio files below. 🙂

Sound #1: The tremolo

An Eastern Screech Owl’s most common noise is an eerie, even-pitched trill, which is often called a tremolo. The tremolo is used by mated pairs during the breeding season to stay in contact. Males and females are often heard singing this call back and forth, both day and night. The purring trill typically lasts between 3-5 seconds and contains about 35 notes.

While it’s possible to hear these owls during the day, The BEST time to hear them calling is at night.

Sound #2: The whinny

The second sound that Eastern Screech-owls make is a shrill, descending whinny. The whinny is used to defend territories, and it normally lasts between .5 to 2 seconds long. Many people think this call is similar to the sound of a miniature horse!

Many times, you will hear the tremolo (sound #1) and the whinny (sound #2) sung one after the other.

Sound #3: Squeals and bill snapping

In the recording above, you can hear a series of squeaks and bill snaps. Eastern Screech Owls often make these sounds when annoyed or when defending the nest.

Watch the short video below to hear more examples of the CALLS, SOUNDS, and HOOTS of an Eastern Screech Owl.

YouTube video


Have you ever heard the calls and sounds of an Eastern Screech Owl before?

If so, please let us know below!

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