Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

March 9, 2011

Walking in the Woods

I was walking in the woods, and what did I see? A little Eastern Screech Owl trying to have a sleepy. Are you humming along now?

Okay, seriously... a really cool sighting on one of my walks in some woods within the GTA! I don't know much about these little Owls though so here's some tid-bits from Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

* The Eastern Screech-Owl eats a variety of small animals. Two captive males ate from one-quarter to one-third of their own body weight in food each night, but sometimes skipped a night and stored food instead.

* The trilling song on one pitch, sometimes known as the Bounce Song, is used by members of a pair or a family to keep in contact. The male will trill to advertise a nest site, court the female, and when arriving at a nest with food. The descending Whinny is used in territory defense. The songs usually are uttered separately, but sometimes are heard together.

* Eastern Screech-Owl pairs usually are monogamous and remain together for life. Some males, however, will mate with two different females. The second female may evict the first female, lay her own eggs in the nest, and incubate both clutches.

* The Eastern Screech-Owl is known to eat a variety of songbirds, including the European Starling. Despite this fact, the starling regularly displaces the owl from nesting sites and takes over the hole to raise its own brood.

As you can tell from my photos, these Owls, like many others blend in very well with their environment. A really tough one to spot out in the wild. He's probably 30 to 40 ft up the tree.

Standing next to a tree, one probably wouldn't even notice this guy above them.

So, if you really would like to see one but don't have the time to search, the patience to search and a bit of luck on your side as well... I suggest visiting Mountsberg Conservation Area and their Raptor Centre. They have 3 Eastern Screech Owls in captivity. All of which are unreleasable for one reason or another.

Meet Echo in these shots...

And if you are willing to pay for a personal Raptor Encounter, and behave yourself, showing respect and kindness, you should be able to hold one of these beautiful little Owls like I am here with my pal Otis. He looks a tad grumpy, him and his one good eye.


socurly said...

Love that little snuggie owl. It's beautiful how his feathers look just like tree bark. You make me want to pay more attention to things outdoors. I look forward to your blogging. Hopefully spring will bring more. I saw two Robins in the yard today!!!
Thanks for showing off your photos.

Freedom School said...

Hi Rob,

Just returned from the Rattray Marsh only to find a dead Trumpeter Swan, close to where the Lake flows into the small inlet pond. It appears to have no distress. I was looking for Friends of the Marsh just to let someone know. Maybe with your connections you can pass the word. Not sure if it is good to just leave it there. It is so big.

Sadly, Diane

Rob said...

Lily. Yes! Pay more attention. Amazing what is around us if we just stop, look and listen with a dash of respect and as much patience. I've walked past this tree hundreds of times and who knows how many times I passed with this Owl right there.

Diane. Bummer about the Trumpeter Swan. :( If it was a tagged Swan (yellow tags on the wings and maybe a band on the leg)... it needs to be reported and I have the access.

If it is un-tagged, then not much can be done really. Either leave it to rot or some carrion eater might feast on it or call animal services to come and take the carcass away.

It's sad to discover such things but really, they are living things like us, and we all live and breathe, but eventually die. No living creature should be left to rot in the open though. I've buried enough in my travels as the sight bothers me.