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Western screech owl        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Several species of screech-owls are found in North and South America, including 3 in the United States.   These three (whiskered screech-owl from the southwest, eastern screech-owl from eastern North America, and western screech-owl from west of the Great Plains) are very similar to each other in appearance and habits.   All are closely related to the Scops owls of Africa and Eurasia.   This western screech-owl is not showing its ear tufts, but does exhibit the intricately marked cryptic plumage, the staring yellow eyes, and the strong feet of these little birds.   This one -- sitting in a huge old sycamore tree -- came to a playback of its soft call in Two Trees Canyon in Riverside, California on a hot July night.

  • digital captures, Canon 1D Mk. II, 500 mm IS lens and 1.4X converter, electronic flash (2004)