Archive for Owls

Eastern Screech Owl (red morph) 12/21/17

There are a couple dozen screech owl species found in the Americas, all of them now considered different enough from their old world “scops owl” cousins to warrant their own genus “Megascops.” Contrary to their name, Eastern Screech Owls don’t screech. Instead they have a descending trill that’s reminiscent of a horse whinnying and another courting trill. Eastern Screeches come in 2 color morphs, red or gray (in southernmost Florida there’s a third rare brown morph). Except for occasionally finding one roosting on its doorstep like this, they’re strictly nocturnal and go unnoticed.


Barred Owl 1/3/17


I first saw this Barred Owl crossing the road inside Fort Foster then landing in a cherry thicket, and was able to creep up by staying behind a pine trunk. It’s only 10 or 12 feet above the ground, and as it perched was scanning the ground just below for voles and other rodents. The bloody spot on the curve of its beak spoke of a recent meal but apparently not a very filling one—this bird was definitely on the move and actively hunting. It’s not that unusual to spot one during the day. Depending where you live Barred Owls are also called Hoot Owls or Rain Owls and their 8-9 hoot call is usually paraphrased “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all.” where the you-all note descends and trails away. They are a common and good-sized owl, though not as big as the Great Horned, Great Gray, or Snowy, but they are the only owl that doesn’t have yellow eyes.


Eastern Screech Owl red morph


Eastern Screech Owls are woodland birds that come in either red or gray morphs as well as some intermediary brownish plumages. Mixed pairs do occur. They are stocky ear-tufted owls with yellow eyes and are only about 8 inches tall.


Snowy Owl 12/18/15


Snowy Owls began showing up on the New England Coast a couple weeks ago, and this winter looks to be the 3rd in a row with record numbers of young birds invading from the Arctic. The bird above has taken up residence at Ragged Neck (Rye Harbor SP), but is smaller and paler than the owl that was resident the previous 2 winters. To find this bird, simply look for the knot of photographers and owl enthusiasts and see what they’re all aimed at.


Snowy Owl 3/10/15


Ragged Neck, Rye, with Appledore in the background.


Eastern Screech Owl red morph 2/25/15


Eastern Screech Owls are woodland birds that come in either red or gray morphs as well as some intermediary brownish plumages, and mixed pairs do occur. They are stocky ear-tufted owls with yellow eyes that are only about 8″ tall. Like most raptors, males are smaller and the size difference between the sexes allows a pair to hunt a wider range of prey. Their diet is quite flexible and varied including earthworms, insects, frogs, songbirds, rodents, and snakes. They don’t exactly hoot but have a high-pitched call that descends in a tremolo, often compared to a horse’s whinny. Both sexes sing, especially to each other.


Snowy Owl 12/28/14



« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »