Jack Schmidling Productions, Inc.
18016 Church Road ~ Marengo IL 60152
Phone:815 923 0031 ~ Email:




One of the first things we did after moving out here was to place wood duck nesting boxes near the pond and in the woods. My brother and his son made 3 of them out of wood but a wood duck never went near them and they were destroyed within two years by raccoons and squirrels. Not to be defeated, he bought a fiberglass one which we put up in an oak tree that can be seen from the drawing room window.

Only once did we see a wood duck look at it but they insist on nesting in a tree right by the back door, year after year but that is another story. The good news is that a pair of Screech Owls has been nesting in the wood duck box for the past 5 years. They show up about this time of year and take possession. The bad news is that a squirrel decided to move in and has been there all Winter and we feared the owls would not have the determination to evict him.

One of them showed up two weeks ago but just sort of hung around in the trees.


Otus asio

There must have been the "Mother of all Battles" one night because when we got up this happy scene greeted us.

Screech owls come in two different colors or "phases" which have nothing to do with sex or species. It just sort of happens. We are fortunate that a red one teamed up with a gray one so we can keep track of who is doing what and know that when have two.

Unfortunately, we have no clue as to which is which. They both incubate eggs and bring food when the eggs hatch.


This is the gray one. The picture suffers from open window turbulence but I was only interested in the color so I didn't bother going outside with the camera.

Contrary to the name, Screech Owls do not screech. They make the most pathetic sounding, tremulous wail that one can image. The first time I heard one I thought someone was just fooling around.

It's hard to tell just when they get down to business but one or the other is frequently seen sunning it's face in the opening and I have seen both of them in succession so we know that they co-habit the box.

What is really fascinating is the way they are received in the neighborhood. Every once in awhile, someone declares war on them and blue jays, chickadees and sparrows dive bomb them for a half hour or more. I have seen a chickadee land on the edge of the hole and yell in at them. This seems like a dangerous game but what do I know?

Screech Owl Jr.

This is the only baby picture we have managed to get. It was one of last year's brood.

The babies look like fur balls and don't have the long ear tufts of the adult and are always gray until the acquire their adult plumage.


Whenever were hear crows, jays and even chickadees raising a ruckus this time of year, we need look no farther than the Wood Duck nesting box.

This box has been commandeered for the past 5 years by a pair of Screech Owls and all one of them needs to do is stick it's head out the door and the whole neighborhood explodes. Diving, straffing, screaming and just making things very unpleasant for the owls.

This crow is about as brazen as crows get but I actually saw a Chickadee divebomb the owl, chasing him down into the box and then sat on the edge of the hole, sticking his head down, still scolding the owl.

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