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the natural world around you

Started by kevin, October 01, 2019, 10:29:34 PM

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I believe this to be the type of owl that perched in my garage. It's hard to tell but pretty sure this is the one. I eventually identified it by its beak color, its vertical markings, color, ear tufts  and size. It was probably about 20".  This is the photo I took. Wish I had taken the time to get a really good photo. Next time I'll try harder. Really never knew how cool owls are.

Eastern Screech Owls are a common little owl often found in residential areas and parks, where their haunting calls are often the only indication of their presence.  They are nocturnal, but can occasionally be spotted on perches in thick tree canopies during the day.   There are various color morphs, but the gray morph is generally the most common in the state A red morph is shown in the top photo, but photos of both the gray and red morph can be seen in the photo links at the bottom of the page.

Habitat: Open forest, isolated groves, residential shade trees.  Generally needs dead trees with nesting holes.
Diet: Mostly insects and small rodents.  Will also eat frogs, lizards, earthworms, crustaceans, and small birds.
Behavior: Forages at night, primarily by watching from a perch and swooping down when prey is spotted.  They can find prey both by sight and by sound, and are also capable of catching insects in flight.
Nesting: April and May in South Dakota.  The nest of an Eastern Screech Owl is a cavity in a tree, often an old woodpecker hole.  They also have become well adapted to the use of nest boxes specially sized for screech owls.  The female alone incubates the eggs, but the male will bring food to her during incubation.  Both parents will help to raise the young.
Song: Haunting descending whinny.
Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout it's normal range.
Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Eastern Screech Owl sightings
Similar Species: Northern Saw-whet Owl, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech Owl
Nestboxes: Will use artificial nest boxes of appropriate size.
Conservation Status: Widespread, with numbers generally stable.  Well adapted to a human presence.  The IUCN currently lists the Eastern Screech Owl as a species of "Least Concern".
Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Eastern Screech Owl
2) WhatBird - Eastern Screech Owl

3) Audubon Guide - Eastern Screech Owl

Photo Information: June 11th, 2006 - Beaver Creek Nature Area, Minnehaha County, South Dakota- Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Eastern Screech Owl photos.

Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl


Quote from: kevin on November 15, 2019, 01:32:22 PM
yes. red foxez mostly. just a few weeks back ihad a gray fox crozs tbe road in front of me. those are notnearly as common.

bitb are beautiful animals

100% agree Kevin and that's great you have red foxes there! :-)

I think I saw a cub on the way home from work yesterday. Think it might have been a grey fox. It went hiding in the bushes of a neighbour pretty fast as I came down the road though so didn't get more than a brief glance at it!
"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."

Albert Einstein


Quote from: Meat on November 16, 2019, 02:29:34 AM
I think Barred Owl. It struggled getting the rabbit up into the tree.  ||popcorn||

It does look like a barred owl. I'm obsessed with reading about owls ATM. There is a baled eagle nest close to where I live . I have yet to try to photograph it. It's down by the old rail road tracks. I've heard that there is a trail that goes back to it but I haven't investigated it yet. Hopefully this Winter on a mild day I can get back there. Also need a new camera. Some people in the neighborhood have said that there is an albino bald eagle around.

This past Summer there was an albino heron in the pond next to my best friend. I saw it many times while on a walk but didn't have my camera with me. It isn't there anymore. A few years back there was an albino deer that I kept seeing. I felt so sorry for it. It was always alone and had no natural cover except when snow was on the ground.


I forgot she sent me a pic of the heron. I guess it's not albino but a great white heron and is rare.


upon closer inspection and reading. It isn't albino or a great white heron. It's most likely a Great Egret because of its black legs. A great white heron would have light colored legs. 


Still trying to understand the lack of color in the owl that was in my garage. Came across this.


Leucistic Owls

Leucism is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.


This guy has been hanging around all day. He acts like he is sick or injured. When I first saw him this morning his head was turned under and he was shivering. That's how I knew he was alive. It's dark out now I'm not sure if it's still there.

Mr. Blackwell

I used to see massive flocks of starlings and canadian geese.

I miss those days.

At this time the answer is not no. The question is why?


Very cool Mr. B. I watch the Starlings murmurate every year. At my old house they used to get started around September and they would fill a huge Silver Maple tree in the backyard. Also since I live close to a river I see the Canada Goose come and go every year. When they start to come back that's how I know it's closer to Spring. Murmuration is a new word for me. Used to just call it 'flying South for the Winter'.

1350-1400; Medieval Latin murmuratio ("murmuring, grumbling"). The "starling" sense is probably derived from the sound of the very large groups that starlings form at dusk.

murmuration (plural murmurations)

An act or instance of murmuring.
(ornithology, collective) A flock of starlings.
An emergent order in a multi-agent social system.
Further reading
Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Flocking (behavior) on Wikipedia

Why Do Starlings Flock in Murmurations?



Quote from: kevin on November 13, 2019, 05:34:43 PM
maritime, how much uzeful daylight are uou getting right now?

A lot less than Aug 2, summertime dragonfly!
Today, 9:43 to 3:46. Modify: 9:13 to 3:16, not strictly sunrise/sunset.

"Think again, sunshine."



new fish tank. two efts:

and several bullfrog tadpoles. this one is the size of my thumb

there are some minnows too but pictures are hard in this 10 gallon tank

dare to know.


mud daubers.

lots of these friendly wasps around the house noe in midsummer, building mud structures to stuff full of caterpillars and spiders.

but heres where they gsther the mud. little excavstions whete they ball up a piece to fly back to the house with.

a possum too. no way to tell whether its one of the ones we raised here

dare to know.


this one was in the kitchen almost exactly one year ago.

different species make different nests. sometimes just a big blob of dirt. but sometimes they make perfectly symmetrical little round pots. when they fill em up, they seem to use all one species of food insect. i dont know how vaiable that is. there may be a coevolution involved beteeen predator and a specific prey.

they will sting if you force them to, but otherwise not.
dare to know.


i get all kinds of tracks in these few puddles in the lane leading to the gravel road. possums, raccoons, doves, whitetailed deer, fixes (i think) and even occasional amphibians.
the water attracts birsd as well. song sparrows, field sparrows, and this morning i was finally able to identify the boblink that comes here to nest every year. havent seen it, but ive been hearing it call for a week now out in the hayfield along with the meadowlarks.

we're not haying this year, just letting the field go fallow and trying to sprout thechestnuts and native hazelnuts we planted last year. we'll see what comes up. my wife planted several hundred of each.
dare to know.