Accurate nocturnal bird abundance and distribution data are necessary for managing nocturnal avian communities. We compared vocalization playback and silent methods for surveying 3 nocturnal avian species in Mississippi in 1997 and 1998. Playback elicited more responses from eastern screech-owls (Otus asio) than the silent method. Playback was more effective than the silent method at detecting habitat associations of eastern screech-owls, which were strongly associated with pine regeneration stands than pine sawtimber stands and pine-hardwood stands. Playback of broadcast vocalizations more effectively detects abundance of some nocturnal bird species than silent methods. Increased detectability and accuracy are essential for monitoring and managing nocturnal avian communities and their habitat associations.