While searching online recently for outdoor Bird Watching activities, I came across an exciting event I wanted to share with you. The Buffalo Audubon Society is hosting an upcoming hike through the North Tonawanda Nature Preserve in search of Eastern Screech Owls.
According to their website, http://buffaloaudubon.org, Naturalist Tom Kerr will be taking us on a guided hike through the North Tonawanda Audubon Preserve. We will be looking and listening for the Eastern Screech Owls that live in the wetland preserve.
Eastern Screech Owls are small “eared” owls, measuring only about 9 inches tall (23 cm), however, they have a 20 inch (50.8 cm) wingspan. These owls are commonly found in woods, suburbs, parks and open woodlands but they are rarely seen. They hide out and roost in old Woodpecker holes and hollow stumps, you might even find one tucked tight up against a tree trunk. This is the only small owl in New York with ear tufts.
The Eastern Screech Owl is usually seen in one of two colors, either mottled with gray and white or red-brown with white (perfect for blending in with the trees) with bright yellow eyes. They have one brood per year, laying 4-5 plain white eggs. The female is in charge of incubation while the male sees that she is fed during this period. Their diet consists of small mammals, birds and snakes, and large insects.
These owls will nest in a wooden nesting box and it is thought that males and females will mate for life. They may even roost together at night. This owl does not migrate.
The Owl Prowl is Saturday, April 15, 2017 from 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm. Pre-registration is required for this event by calling 585-457-3228. Waterproof footwear is recommended, and it is suggested that children are 8 and older. They do charge $5 for the outing and you can pay when you get there. The Nature Preserve is conveniently located in the heart of North Tonawanda just minutes from North Tonawanda High School. For a map and directions, visit https://goo.gl/maps/SDDVaTbGr7n . When making reservations, tell them the Backyard Birdlady sent you. I hope to see you there!