Screech Owling

Brian Smith

Good morning,

Okay, this worked two years in a row. As the sun was going down yesterday, I heard a piercing call that robins make when they are alarmed at the edge of the forest. Earlier in the day I saw a fledging robin walking around. Last year I went out looking to see why the robins were alarmed and saw a family of screech owls, so last night I went out again looking for them.

At the edge of the forest, I thought I saw one, so I slowly walked into the forest. Luckily, it was windy, so there were only a few mosquitoes vs a cloud of them. As I walked into the forest, I flushed at least 3 screech owls and was able to watch one for a few minutes that stuck around as the robins kept their screeching up.

I believe I've heard that robins will continue to feed fledging birds from their nest and maybe that's why they are on alert since those baby robins would be really vulnerable to attack by the owls, some of which were likely young themselves, although I got close enough to see that they didn't have the fuzzy feathers that nestlings will sometimes have.

So robins are pretty good at tipping off the location of owls. Of course, crows are good at that too with their mobbing when they are around.

I did barely get to hear the odd cooing that screech owls make. They did it fairly quietly.

Brian Smith
Averill Park, NY