May 29 2014
Three eastern screech-owl chicks perch on a branch, curious about the world. They’ve just emerged from their nest hole and flown for the first time. Everything is new.
“What is that over there?” They bob and weave to get a better look.
Pat Gaines watched this owl family nest and fledge along the Spring Creek trail in Fort Collins, Colorado. Click on the links below to see more of his photos:
- One of the adults at dusk. Pat says he stacked two photos to get this effect.
- An adult during daylight,
- A fledgling flies while his sibling looks on,
- A fluffy owlet looks out of the nest hole a few days before he fledges.
These owls live in a part of the country were both eastern and western screech-owls occur. Cornell’s Birds of North America says the two species are so similar that they can only be distinguished from each other by bill color and voice.
Neither species migrates so ornithologists have been able to pinpoint their ranges. In Colorado eastern screech-owls live east of the Rockies, western screech-owls live west. Their ranges have a narrow contact zone in Colorado Springs but don’t overlap.
It’s a place where birders ask the screech-owls, “Whooo are you?”
(video by Pat Gaines)