Lisa’s Weekly BIRD CHALLENGE: OWLS

 

Lisa’s Challenge this week is OWLS

So here are my photos – once again, mainly from other countries as I haven’t often seen owls in this country. We have periods when we hear Tawny Owls around our house for a few weeks – and then nothing for months. I have occasionally seen them on a lamp post and hear them from the big oak tree nearby. Recently, when they were calling in the big oak tree nearby, I went out and played a recording on my phone app, as a result of which I saw a dark shape fly across and into our silver birch tree which was exciting. But it was much too dark to photograph it.

The Tawny Owl is sometimes known as the Screech Owl because of its call. We are familiar from children’s books with their call “too-wit, too-woo”, but this is actually the combination of a male and female calling to each other. It is only the male which calls “too-woo”, often with a prolonged tremor on the “woo” which I used to imitate by blowing between my thumbs with my hands cupped together. The female’s call is the harsher “too-wit” screech. So remember, “too-wit / too-woo” is female / male, not that you often hear both together like that.

Well, after all that preamble, I don’t have a decent photo of a Tawny Owl to show you! The only owl photos I have from the UK are of a Barn Owl I watched hunting at Bempton Cliffs, a thrilling experience. I was very surprised to see it hovering before it plummeted head first into the long grass to catch its prey – I didn’t know owls could hover.

 

And now for some owls seen on my travels. The easiest to photograph are the cute little Burrowing Owls in South America (I’ve seen them in Chile and Brazil) as they are active during the day, digging their burrows on open grassland. They’re even happy for you to creep close and take their photos!

 

In India, I’ve seen more cute little owls (called Owlets) which are even smaller than the Burrowing Owls.

 

The Madagascar Scops Owl is huge. I saw the first one during the day, roosting safely in a thicket. The second one was at night.

 

 

6 thoughts on “Lisa’s Weekly BIRD CHALLENGE: OWLS

  1. Pingback: Bird Weekly Round-Up – Week #19 – Our Eyes Open

  2. These are fantastic! I appreciate the info on the Tawny Owl. I’m sure watching that Barn Owl hunt was an incredible experience. I so love the Burrowing Owls. We have them in south Florida but not here in Jacksonville. Wonderful pics!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lisa. It looks like you are well placed for birds in Florida as it seems you get some South and Central American birds as well as North American birds and migrants. Do you know what the total bird count is for Florida?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve looked it up on the internet and found various estimates, including:
        “Over 500 native bird species or naturally occurring strays have been recorded in Florida in historic times, and about 330 native species commonly occur here (four have gone extinct). A further 14 nonnative species are considered to have established large, stable populations in Florida.”
        And: “As of December 31, 2018, there were 525 species included in the official list for Florida. Of them, 159 species and eight identifiable subspecies are classed as accidental, 14 have been introduced to North America, four are extinct, and one has been extirpated. More than 100 “verifiable…exotic species [are] found free-flying in the wild” according to the FOSRC.”
        The list for the whole of the UK (including Northern Ireland) is 620, but then we are nearly a third bigger than Florida and are surrounded by sea.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds about right! I’ve seen lists on ebird with over 300 species in one hotspot. Doesn’t surprise me since we are a major migration route. There are some birds on the west coast of Florida that don’t make it to the east coast during migration. Thanks for looking that up. My time was limited this last week. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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