Species Profile (655 Words)

Species Profile (655 Words)

            The Megascops asio, commonly known as the Eastern Screech-Owl, are relatively small owls that according to the Government of Canada (2015) inhabit areas of Southern Ontario, Canada year-round. They also state that these owls can be found in small populations in Saskatchewan, Southern Manitoba and Quebec, Canada.

Physical Description:

The Eastern Screech-Owl is a relatively small bird standing 16 to 25 centimetres and weighing only 121-244g (Cornell University, 2017). Other than their size a few other key features that Cornell University (2017) uses to identify this owl is their stocky body, big head, near to no neck and big, yellow eyes. They also point out the Screech-Owl’s ear tuffs, that will raise from their head creating a horn-like appearance. These birds can come in a variety of colours. Depending on region and stage of life, it is said that other than their most common brown feathers, the owl can also appear red as well as grey or dark grey, almost black (Cornell University, 2017). Refer to Figures 1. 2. and 3. for the differing colour morphs of this owl. Though they can vary in colour, all sexes and Screech-Owls share a common feather pattern that Cornell University (2017) describes as Plumages, which look like spots on the chest of the birds. 


According to the Government of Canada (2015), these birds have experienced a moderate increase in their population status. They also inform that the Eastern Screech-Owl, as of 2010, is classified secure by the general status assessments conducted “Wild Species”. Secure, meaning the species has remained widespread and abundant (Government of Canada, 2015). Though the owl is classified as secure overall in Canada, there are regions of concern. The Government of Canada (2015) refers to the “Bird Conservation Region Strategy” who lists the Eastern Screech-Owl as a Priority Species in their 2013 assessment. The two regions of concern being; the Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain or Quebec Region and the Prairie Potholes or Prairie and Northern Region (Government of Canada, 2015; Environment Canada, 2013). 

Threats and Predators: 

The Eastern Screech-Owl faces natural threats as well as threats from human impact. Death of these birds is common due to parasites, some with heavy fly infestation of young nestlings and the West Nile Virus (Cornell University, 2017). As stated by the Government of Canada (2015) low food supplies followed by unusually cold winters can affect these birds along with their environmental factors. On top of that, the Eastern Screech-Owl also suffers many human related deaths each year. Research has shown that anticoagulants used as a rodenticide can enter the owl’s body through consumption of a rodent that had ingested the poison, and result in liver failure (Rattner, Horak, Lazarus, Eisenreich, Meteyer, Volker, Campton, Eisemann, Johnston, 2012). Cornell University (2017) states that the Eastern Screech-Owl is also a victim of vehicle collisions and deforestation, both human impacts. 


Cornell University. (2017). All About Birds Eastern Screech-Owl Identification. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Screech-Owl/id

Cornell University. (2017). Birds of North America, Eastern Screech-Owl, Megascops asio. Retrieved from https://birdsnaorg.eztest.ocls.ca/SpeciesAccount/bna/species/easowl1/appearance#dddde

Environment Canada. (2013). Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 13 in Quebec Region. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/eccc/migration/main/mbc-com/f43be8a4-376f-4525-b1cd-2e78b43989d8/bcr-2013-20qc-20final-20abridged-20oct-202013.pdf

Government of Canada. (2015, August 19). Background Information Wild Species 2010: The General Status of Species in Canada. Retrieved from https://wildlife-species.canada.ca/bird-status/info-info-eng.aspx?sY=2014&sL=e&sB=EASO&sM=p1&did=7105&sDoc=31&RS=1

Government of Canada. (2015, August 19). Summary statistics. Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio). Retrieved from https://wildlife-species.canada.ca/bird-status/oiseau-bird-eng.aspx?sY=2014&sL=e&sM=p1&sB=EASO#uBCRSid

Rattner, B. A., Horak, K. E., Lazarus, R. S., Eisenreich, K. M., Meteyer, C. U., Volker, S. F., … Johnston, J. J. (2012). Assessment of toxicity and potential risk of the anticoagulant rodenticide diphacinone using Eastern screech-owls (Megascops asio). Ecotoxicology, (3), 832. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.283836452&site=eds-live&scope=site


Baxter, Andrew. (2016). Eastern Screech-Owl Megascops asio. Retrieved from https://ebird.org/media/catalog?taxonCode=easowl1&sort=rating_rank_desc&mediaType=p&regionCode=

Kennedy, Chad. (2018). Eastern Screech-Owl Megascops asio. Retrieved from https://ebird.org/media/catalog?taxonCode=easowl1&sort=rating_rank_desc&mediaType=p&regionCode=

Klick, Brendan. (2017). Eastern Screech-Owl Megascops asio. Retrieved from https://ebird.org/media/catalog?taxonCode=easowl1&sort=rating_rank_desc&mediaType=p&regionCode=

3 Replies to “Species Profile (655 Words)”

  1. Wow Hannah! Great job on the first draft, I am having a hard time finding things to critic. I think the organization and structure of your profile is great. It has a nice flow to it. Your APA format is also well done, and I really like the way you integrated your sources. The only thing I can suggest is when doing in text citations for sources with more then one author, instead of writing all of them you can just write the first one and et al, for a more efficient look. (ex. Rattner, et al., 2012). Also, I am sure you will, but an addition of a nice image of the Screech Owl would be beneficial.

  2. I really enjoy how you started this, it gave a good introduction to the species.The flow was nice and easy to read, and all your sources were credible and would pass the CRAAP test. I enjoy each paragraph but i would take a look at possibly editing some areas, for an example when you were talking about threats and you said “However, there are many human related deaths to these owls.” it seemed like an INTRO although you already mentioned it in the beginning, something I would try doing is mentioning their main threat is … then after explaining the natural threats put in this sentence However, there are many human related deaths to these owls. I would also check for possible run on sentences, but again overall this is a great start and easy to understand and read but more advanced at the same time.

  3. Its difficult to critique something that was supposed to be a shitty first draft but is a nearly perfect first draft. Your writing seems to be original but there shouldn’t be periods before your in-text citations. Also the Latin name for your species needs to be italicized. (I had help to find those things) All in all, you have a great profile so far.

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