Twinkling Stars in violet skies
The Autumn night with watching eyes
The owl waits with patience--wise
And makes his plans for silent surprise.
On darkened ground, beneath the trees
A mouse rustles in fallen leaves.
A meal to find or a meal to be
The owl waits, the owl sees.
On quiet wings down through the night
The little Screech owl soon takes flight.
With talons sharp, he finds his mark
And gets new life from a mouse's heart.
From lofty perch he sings till dawn
Giving thanks to all with trilling song.
For most, the night is filled with dreams
And the owl sees what can't be seen.
Cool nights, sparkling stars and the scent of autumn in the air often brings the song of the little Screech owl. Soon after sunset, he appears in a hole of a dead tree limb. With yellow eyes he watches for any movement below in hopes that what moves could be a nightly meal.
During the summer months, there are lots of meal opportunities for the Screech owls. Besides lots of large insects to eat, there are frogs, snakes, salamanders and small birds. When the weather turns cold and the summer insects and animals are gone, the Screech owl must rely on his hunting skills to catch mice, voles and small roosting birds.
Like their larger cousin, the Great Horned owls, the Screech owls are opportunistic hunters and will eat whatever they can catch. Their large eyes allow them to see through even the darkest night. Their closely-knit feathers allow them to fly on soundless wings.
The owl's rare gift as a hunter gives him an equal chance to survive and continue their important roles in nature's plan.
The Screech owl's call is more of a high mournful wail than a Screech. They were once known as shivering owls because of their quavering whistle. This little 10 inch owl can be seen in two color phases, reddish orange or gray. Their tiny, needle sharp talons help them grasp their prey and can hold fast even to small fish and minnows. They are skilled fisherman and won't hesitate to get wet for a meal of fish or crawfish.
Because of the availability of food and large trees to live in, the Screech owl often can be seen and heard in the cities, towns and villages across the country. An evening walk down a quiet tree-lined street is a good time to hear this little owl's song.
Once in awhile, the noisy calls of the nuthatches and chickadees will catch my attention. It may be mid-day but the Screech owl peers out his secret hole in the tree to get some sun on his face. Upon seeing the little owl intruder, the birds call out their excited alarm. Chick-a-dee-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee-dee, I see you there hiding in a tree. I see you there for all to see. A blue jay too joins in clever thrall, his disapproval and alarming call. The owl knows that he can't win so he calls it a day and ducks back in.
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