Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Owl" be Jiggered!

I went out tonight to help my friend Eric P locate and photograph a Western Screech-Owl. We stopped to check on a local Barn Owl roost before making our way to a couple of Screech-owl spots. We were able to watch the ghostly white figure of a Barn Owl as it flew circles in the darkness above us for a few minutes before making our way to our first Screech-Owl location. We came up empty on that spot and headed to a wooded area in our local foothills where we hit a Screech-Owl jackpot with at least two Screech-Owls calling from the darkness. What a thrill to spot the small silhouette of an owl tooting from a barren branch. I put a light on the small, portly silhouette to reveal a handsome grey fur ball, about 8 1/2 inches tall, with bright yellow eyes. Eric was able to get his photos and then gave me a moment to capture a few. I wonder if the fine downy feathers projecting from the sides of the owl's head indicate that the bird hatched this year. Or was the owl just ecstatic about seeing Eric and me?

I did my best impression of a singing Western Screech-Owl and the owl responded in kind. Eric and I both enjoyed that short vocal interaction with the fascinating little owl. I thought to myself in my little Kentucky kid way, "Owl be jiggered! I just conversed with a Screech Owl."