Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Owl Mission Part 3-Screech Owls

You can find screech owls all over the U.S., but the type to find in this region are Eastern Screech Owls. They have 2 morphs: red and gray. I have captured both digitally as shown above. These little guys are the second smallest of the owl genus for our area. They range from 9-10" in height and find tree cavities, for the most part for protection and nesting, although people have had success with nesting boxes. I put up one of my own, but have yet to attract one (although a squirrel has found it a nice place to chew on). They have large yellow eyes and large ear tufts. They eat insects in mid air and prey on small rodents. They have many calls, but the most distinctive, sounds like an eerie horse whinny. I found one (red morph) through a friend, whose sister had one in her tree cavity in rural Morris. The other (gray) was found at Morton Arboretum at the same time I found the saw-whet (see previous post). Both were sunning themselves at the entrance of their home, which is mainly when you can find them. They are the most common of owl species, but to find them is the allure for me. I have yet to discover one on my own without a tip.

Next: Part 4: Snowy Owls

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