US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 118 (1), July 2005 0001-4966/2005/118(1)/314/8/$22.50

DOI: 10.1121/1.1928767


2005 Acoustical Society of America.


The auditory brainstem response (ABR), a measure of neural synchrony, was used to estimate auditory sensitivity in the eastern screech owl (Megascops asio). The typical screech owl ABR waveform showed two to three prominent peaks occurring within 5 ms of stimulus onset. As sound pressure levels increased, the ABR peak amplitude increased and latency decreased. With an increasing stimulus presentation rate, ABR peak amplitude decreased and latency increased. Generally, changes in the ABR waveform to stimulus intensity and repetition rate are consistent with the pattern found in several avian families. The ABR audiogram shows that screech owls hear best between 1.5 and 6.4 kHz with the most acute sensitivity between 4–5.7 kHz. The shape of the average screech owl ABR audiogram is similar to the shape of the behaviorally measured audiogram of the barn owl, except at the highest frequencies. Our data also show differences in overall auditory sensitivity between the color morphs of screech owls.