Backup Backup Plan

Owls are a master of defense when danger occurs. It is almost comical watching a small owl trying to appear bigger and intimidating.  Screech-owls are so good at defense that they have a backup for their backup backup plan.

Here’s how to defend yourself from an attacker like a screech-owl:

Plan A: First when a predator or attacker first spots you, stick up your ear tufts and suck in your body to appear really skinny. Then simply lean into the tree… there’s nothing here but a tree! If said tree is unavailable simply skinny yourself and sit completely still. Oh and don’t forgot to squint your eyes! Eyes that big will give you away but you don’t want to close your eyes and become blind to the oncoming attack.

Image from

Plan B: Darnnit Plan A wasn’t enough to deter the attacker time to pull out the bigger than life trick. This involves puffing yourself up twice as big and swaying back and forth. While you slay you must clack your beak and hiss loudly. Though some shy owls skip this step and jump straight to Plan C.

Bean and Oz, two of our Eastern Screech Owl ambassadors. See how big Bean is puffed up? Oz is only slightly puffed up. Bean is new and still learning that we aren’t going to hurt him.

Plan C: The attacker is still heading straight for you! Quick utter the terrifying screech that you are so famous for! Many have compared this sound to the scream of a mountain lion or a baby crying in terrible distress.

red-easo-peeking_zps8qupfaoi Red Eastern Screech Owl, who has thankfully completed his parasite treatment and is preparing for release!

Plan D: Some attackers are not frightened by their dinner screaming at them, now’s the time to perform your most important acting role of your life. Drop dead! Well, pretend you are dead. This trick always works, who wants dinner that has disappeared, grew bigger, screeched, and then died?

Brown Eastern Screech-owl is very unhappy to be in rehabilitation. If only we could tell him that we aren’t the bad guys!

Now if you follow all of these steps you will ensure your survival as a very small owl in a very big world. Remember you must go through all of these steps in less than a minute for it to have optimal results.

Eastern Screech Owl


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