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Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl
Photo Courtesy of Dr. David A. Rintoul, Associate Director, Department of Biology, Kansas State University, and taken with a Canon EOS 10D body, 100-400 mm f/5.6 zoom lens (focal length 100 mm for this shot), 1/200 second at f/16 with fill-flash.

Screech Owl Facts

This beautiful bird was photographed outside of Ackert Hall on the Kansas State University campus. The Eastern Screech-owl (Megascops asio) has a range east of the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to northern Mexico (thus this bird is found throughout Kansas). Common but rarely seen; this is often the only avian predator in many wooded suburban or urban habitats. It can be found in Manhattan anywhere there is a woodlot over an acre or two in size, for example it is quite common in the Sunset Cemetery.

Other on-campus sightings include one that roosted near the President's House a few years back. The size of the bird is only about 6-7 inches (18-20 cm) in length.  A non-migratory bird, the Eastern Screech-owl will nest in man-made nest boxes in the appropriate habitat. Man-made boxes are also often used for winter roosting.

The owl can be found in two color phases: gray and rufous (the bird in the picture is rufous), but more often the latter because the rufous gene is dominant. Rufous birds are more common in urban and in warm/wet habitats, whereas gray birds are more common in cool/dry habitats. Prey consists of insects, rodents and small (or even larger) birds.

Here is a link to another picture by Rintoul, accompanied by a poem by Kansas Poet Elizabeth Dodd, of an imprint of an owl on a plate-glass window. The owl was chasing a moth (visible in the picture) and smacked into the glass, leaving a dust-print. Rintoul assures us the bird was unharmed, showing just how hard-headed these little guys can be.

(Screech Owl specifics and link courtesy of Dr. David Rintoul, Associate Director, department of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan. Dr. Rintoul's photos have previously been on exhibit at Radina's Coffee House, Manhattan.)

 

 

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Last Updated April 6, 2009
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