Sunday, February 03, 2013

An Unexpected Visit From A Screech Owl in Costa Rica

While still enjoying a few REM cycles just as the night was turning to day, I heard a humungous thump that sounded like it came from the kitchen. Sometimes, birds hit the house, but never had I heard one hit at that time of day or with such force. Fearing the worst, I went outside in my skivvies, seeking evidence on the east sidewalk. There are so many birds here in Costa Rica that it is an ongoing problem of them striking a window now and then.

screech owl on branch in costa rica
He's not particularly happy about the camera flash
In the gloom, I made out a large lump that first looked to me like a large bat. As I came closer, I realized it was an owl, on its back, out cold, curled wings limp at its sides. 

I tried to scoop him up in a dust pan to put him out of reach of the cat, when he suddenly woke up and righted himself. 

I woke up Tamara so that she could see him and assist me. She retrieved some heavy gloves so that I could pick him up off the ground. He barely struggled as I carefully placed him on a nearby bird feeder roof out of the reach of our cat who has big ideas of being a mighty predator.


As I tried to place him on the roof of the feeder, he grabbed onto a nearby branch of Reina de la Noche, and sat up straight. 

There he rested for a good 30 minutes. We came to visit him a few times within a couple of feet to see how he was recovering. 

We endured his heavy, brooding stare as I tried to match his markings to the illustrations of various Costa Rican owls in my guide book. I decided, of the owls depicted, that he is a Vermiculated Screech Owl, sometimes referred to as a Middle American Screech Owl.

Eventually, he tired of our gawking and flew off. His flight seemed normal, so we're hoping he makes a full recovery.

4 comments:

  1. When I was in college, two barn owls that lived in the rafters of my ancient dormitory got into a lethal argument. One of them died.

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    1. That's interesting. Usually in nature fights like that result in one of the combatants leaving to go lick their wounds. Thanks for sharing the story.

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  2. Early one morning we heard two thumps on our front door. We found a hummingbird and Ferruginous pygmy owl lying on the sidewalk. The hummer was only stunned and flew off after a few minutes. Sadly, the owl was dead.

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    Replies
    1. How sad. I presume the owl must've been in pursuit of the hummingbird, so at least it was a happy ending for him.

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Thanks so much for your comment! - Casey

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