Eastern Screech Owls (Megascops asio) are the smallest resident birds of prey in Shenandoah National Park, weighing only about 5-8 oz. (that’s a couple of candy bars). They are active all winter, leaving their cozy tree-cavity nests at night in search of food. In winter, there is usually an abundance of mice and shrews, but other mainstay dinner items are hiding out until spring: frogs, salamanders, small snakes, lizards, moths, caterpillars and other insects. Wiley Screech Owls have been observed on frosty autumn mornings walking around farm fields, picking off inert grasshoppers like grapes.
Photo: National Park Service