Species: Otus asio, Eastern Screech Owl  •  Born: 2012   •  Gender: Male  •  Disability: Human Imprint

The AEF staff is saddened to announce the loss of one of our education ambassadors, our Eastern Screech Owl, Tyson, who passed away in June 2019.

Tyson came to the AEF in June 2012 with injuries he sustained when he fell from his nest. He was ultimately deemed non-releasable and spent the remainder of his life educating thousands of people about his kind.

Named after Mike Tyson for his bold personality, Tyson was one of our primary outreach ambassadors and even spent some time at our Dollywood show.

For many of the staff, Tyson will be remembered as one of the first birds that they worked with at the AEF. Losing birds is not easy, and this little guy will certainly be missed.

Fly high, Tyson!


Eastern Screech Owls have been misnamed, because they don’t really screech at all. They have more of a wavering whistle. The Eastern Screech Owl is a short, stocky bird, with a very large head and virtually no neck. The colors of an Eastern Screech Owl vary from a reddish-brown to a grayish color. Their feathers are patterned with spots and bands that help to camouflage them when they are against the bark of a tree.

The ear tufts on top of their heads have nothing to do with their hearing; rather, they help to camouflage the bird when perched in a tree. The tufts, when erect, form a ‘V’ which mimics a forked branch in a tree, and in addition, when they erect the tufts of feathers, they are communicating with others of its species. Erecting the tufts also help frighten away potential enemies because it makes the owl appear larger.

In the wild, screech owls can live to be 10 years of age, and up to twice that in captivity.