Eastern Screech-Owl – Weekend Highlight

First of all does anyone know why the ABA uses a hyphen between Screech and Owl in Eastern Screech-Owl and other lists like Clement’s don’t? Have you tried doing a comparison between the two lists using lookup software? Doesn’t work so easy. Why can’t we be consistent in the naming of species?

Anyway, the goal for the weekend was to find an Eastern Screech-Owl closer to home than sites I know in the Atterbury- Johnson County Park Area. On my weekend birding I have been keeping an eye out for the right habitat and think I know of 3-4 places that might have them.

After the wind and rain of Saturday, Sunday morning was a perfect day to check. The air was crisp and cold with no wind. I don’t go out real early since I have discovered Eastern Screech-Owls will respond to a recording about an hour before sunrise.

Arriving around 7AM and making the 5 minute walk I was right on time. It didn’t take but a minute before one and then two showed up. At first I thought I had called in a Barred Owl because the wing span seemed too wide for a screech-owl. Sibley’s lists the wingspan of an Eastern Screech-Owl at 20″, half of a Barred Owl’s. It must have been the dark and the fact the wing goes from the back of the head to almost the end of the tail.

One of the owls must have infringed on the other’s territory because I watched them harass each other off and on for the next 20 minutes. Several times one would fly straight at the other and the receding one would do the screech call flying away.

Finally it was getting light and they flew their separate ways.

I’ll be checking the other sites for Eastern Screech-Owls and also Northern Saw-whet Owls over the course of the winter.

Otherwise my time was reviewing the local species.

Eastern Screech-Owl
I took one photo of the Eastern Screech-Owl with my flash. The red-eye has been removed and the photo has been lightened. 1/1/17
An American Kestrel showing the diagnostic 3 “sideburns” and looking intensely at prey. 1/1/17
Like most of the birds on Sunday American Tree Sparrows were hunkered down in the brush. Franklin Township Community Park 1/1/17
Brown Creepers must not worry about the cold, at least not when the sun came out. Franklin Township Community Park 1/1/17
This Mourning Dove didn’t move on close approach. It was early and it appeared cold. Franklin Township Community Park 1/1/17
The retaining ponds in Greenwood were half-open. Canada Geese, Mallards, and a couple of American Coots were the only species present. Most flew out to the fields right after sunrise. 1/1/17

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