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Author Topic: Defending Wildlife  (Read 49089 times)

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Whiskered Screech-Owl by Amanda Guercio Shutterstock

Sky-Island Specialty:
Whiskered Screech-Owl

A well-camouflaged little raptor, the Whiskered Screech-Owl’s U.S. population even managed to hide from scientists until almost the dawn of the 20th century. It’s easy to see why it took a while: Although a bit smaller and with slightly more heavily scalloped underparts, the Whiskered Screech-Owl very closely resembles the two other U.S. screech-owls, the Western and the Eastern. Once documented, the bird currently known as the Whiskered Screech-Owl was initially called the Arizona Whiskered Owl and Spotted Screech-Owl.

In the U.S., the Whiskered Screech-Owl only occurs in the “Sky Islands,” mountains rising from the desert in southeastern Arizona and an adjacent dollop of southwestern New Mexico, but the species’ range extends far southward, through the mountains of Mexico and into Central America as far south as Nicaragua. Aptly named, this bird does have longer, thicker facial plumes than its cousins, but these are usually only seen with the bird “in hand,” or in close-up, zoomed-in photos.

The Whiskered Screech-Owl often lives at higher elevations than its look-alike neighbor the Western, but the two species do occur in some of the same places. In such situations, the best way for birders to parse out the two species is by listening to them because, usually, they are easily separated by sounds they make.

How can you identify two co-occurring, near-identical screech-owls with your eyes closed?

Read on to find out more:

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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