About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Small Michigan Owl Visits Neighborhood

Hi, I found this owl on my front porch and this owl was so cool. Would you happen to know what type of owl this is? Thank you. Michele

Oh how exciting! It looks like an Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio). They are found in nearly every habitat throughout the eastern United States and southern Canada. These owls are common in suburban as well as rural areas.

The Eastern Screech Owl has two color morphs (variations in color), reddish or gray with darker streaking on the body that makes them very difficult to distinguish from surrounding tree bark.

Eastern Screech Owl Red Phase.Image via Wikipedia
Males and females look alike but females tend to be larger. They are less than 10 inches tall and weigh about 6 ounces. They have yellow eyes, ear tufts, a pale bill and make a "horselike" whinny vocalization that rises and falls.

Screech Owls do not migrate. They maintain home ranges throughout the winter. Pairs occasionally roost together during the winter in hollow trees, nest boxes, and trees with dense foliage.

They are nocturnal and hunt for lots of rodents and insects by sound. Their ears, right behind the face, are lopsided. This allows for exceptional depth perception and can help them locate prey.

They hunt from dawn to dusk, so your owl was probably perching and waiting to swoop down on unsuspecting prey. Very nice!
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