SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Western Screech-Owls

I located a pair of Western Screech-Owls in a small grove of cottonwoods and was privileged to listen to them sing to each other for about a half hour. The male called first with the "bouncing ball" call, then the female responded with a higher-pitched, short and sweet sounding "kew" call (this did not sound like an alarm call as described in Birds of North Americaonline, but a soft sound).

The female called from a tree several hundred feet from the one in which the male perched. After exchanging calls for 5-10 minutes, the female flew into the male's tree and they continued calling. Later the male flew out and the female followed, then calling ceased.

I was able to get this pic at dusk without risking disturbing the owl with a spotting light or a flash. Remember that I have a long zoom lens on my camera so I was not as close as this pic would indicate. However, there was some disturbance as they stopped singing while I took several pics (maybe the sound of the digital SLR or my presence). When I realized they stopped singing, I moved away quickly and they resumed singing. I once followed a mother and her recently fledged offspring for over a month. Indeed, this species can tolerate humans but we still need to exercise caution as we can disturb them. SeEtta


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