Never assume anything…especially with a Screech Owl

We  received a call from a lady who found an owl and would like us to pick it up.  I assumed it was injured and asked whether it was in a box or not.  She mentioned it was in the basement so I thought it would be easy to catch.   I sent a volunteer out to pick up this injured owl to transport to PWRC.  Shortly around noon, our volunteer called us and said the bird looks healthy and can fly so you need to come with a couple of nets.   So,  out went another volunteer with a couple of nets and thick handling gloves.  It was a difficult location with only one light.  The bird was finally caught but hurt itself during the capture and had blood coming out of its mouth and lungs.  It is currently stable and will be spending a couple of days in rehab just to make sure.  I asked the presenter on how a healthy full-flighted bird could get into her basement. She mentioned that her back door was open on Wednesday evening and that things were knocked down on the  kitchen counter, pictures were slanted in the living room and a few feathers on the floor.  She only discovered the bird today and called us immediately.  She also mentioned she just had a large tree cut down in the front yard a couple of days ago. 

As you can see from the feather coloring, Screech owls blend in to their surroundings and would never know you have them in your area.   They nest in old tree cavities but can take over wooden nest boxes.  They enjoy insects such as moths, crickets and grasshoppers to small mammals like mice, shrews and rabbits.  The most interesting fact is that Screech Owls like to play dead.  They will close their eyes so that they think you’ll leave them alone.

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