The eastern screech-owl’s head is almost as big as the rest of its robin-sized body. Though rare, they sometimes are sighted in the Bay Area.

A couple of weeks ago we explored the world of birds with different color traits known as “morphs.” One of the birds with distinct color variances that got a passing mention was the eastern screech-owl. These darling little owls are elusive and fascinating creatures that merit a closer look.

Downstate readers and folks who’ve lived further to the south may be more familiar with this robin-sized raptor than South Shore residents. Most range maps show the northern end of their territories as ending around Green Bay and then extending further north into the Great Plains and southern Manitoba. But the map from eBird shows a number of reported sightings around the Chequamegon Bay area over the past five years (especially around the Bibon Swamp) and a couple of range maps I found show the Bay Area as part of their intermittent, or “scarce,” range.

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