WESTERN SCREECH OWL: The Preeminent Exterminator

Closeup of a Western Screech Owl

Quotation MarksThis is my first encounter with this amazing little species of owl (Megascops kennicotti), sometimes nicknamed the Little Horned Owl for obvious reasons. Though averaging less than 10″ tall, he was quite fearless of this mammoth beast hiding its face behind a big black box covered with glass and shiny bits.

This sedulous little owl is far more valuable than the most efficient and expensive exterminator, effectively protecting any property from rodents, reptiles, fish, amphibians, invertebrates and gastropods. All gratis! However, most impressive to me, is that this intrepid little exterminator, weighing in at less than 11 ounces, can and does, hunt mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) that can weigh as much as 3 1/2 pounds, and cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus) that can weigh in at 4 1/2 pounds. Surely this is a gift from God to any homeowner who has waged war against intruders. If it prevents even one desert pack rat (Neotoma lepida) from destroying the wiring in a car or house, it has earned its welcome on my property!

Apparently, big things truly CAN come in tiny packages!

—A. deLeeuw

Arizona, U.S. | 1/250 | F8 | ISO 500 | 280mm

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Written on October 26th, 2014 , 5th Day Photography, Birds, Owls
Great-horned Owlet Awaiting "Morning" Repast

Great-horned Owlet Awaiting “Morning” Repast

Quotation MarksI love this photo of Square, a Great-horned Owlet (Bubo virginianus), awaiting his “morning” repast conveyed by his mother. He and his sister would perch in squat mesquite trees as Mom and Dad snared the usual desert cottontails (Sylvilagus audubonii) and round-tailed ground squirrels (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus). His expression is quite anticipatory, no doubt quickened by his diurnal fast, but because his parents are such effective hunters, he shan’t endure any prolonged hunger.

My favorite features of this photo by far, however, are those feet. Just check out those magnificent flocculent mukluks that seem to emerge directly from his belly—no legs required!

—A. deLeeuw

Arizona, U.S. | 1/320 | F6.3 | ISO 320 | 180mm

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Written on September 22nd, 2014 , 5th Day Photography, Birds, Latest Tweets, Owls
Great-horned Owlet Drooped Over Nest Box

Great-horned Owlet Drooped Over Nest Box

Quotation MarksThis little guy (Bubo virginianus) fell from his nest early on, and because the nest was so high, the Wildlife Specialist created a temporary nest as high as possible using a cardboard box. Once he grew old enough, he would sleep and perch on the side of the “nest,” as seen here. It was hysterical to see him drape his wing over one side, and fall sound asleep. He is just awakening in this photo, as you can see from his droopy eyes. Incidentally, his parents continued to care for him and his sister, who remained in the original nest, and both were successfully fledged to independence. God’s Creations are so amazing!

—A. deLeeuw

Arizona, U.S. | 1/200 | F10 | ISO 400 | 185mm

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Written on August 13th, 2014 , 5th Day Photography, Birds, Latest Tweets, Owls
Great-Horned Owlet Eating a Round-Tailed Squirrel

Great-Horned Owlet Eating a Round-Tailed Squirrel

Quotation MarksThis eager Great-horned Owlet (Bubo virginianus) has just received breakfast from Mama. I love a great breakfast, but I must confess, I am not eager to start my day with a dish of Round-tailed Ground Squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus), raw and with hair, no less. Unlike myself, this youngster is more than happy to have the whole squirrel to himself, and chose not to share even a bite with his older sister.

—A. deLeeuw

Arizona, U.S. | 1/100 | F9 | ISO 320 | 300mm

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Written on July 22nd, 2014 , 5th Day Photography, Birds, Owls
WESTERN SCREECH OWL: Not Amused

WESTERN SCREECH OWL: Not Amused

Quotation MarksI have no idea the subject of this Western Screech Owl’s (Megascops kennicottii) scrutiny, but he is blatantly declaring, “I am so not amused.” From my experience, owls seem to have no sense of humor, but I am still unable resist their crotchety charisma. They may not laugh, but they make me laugh every time!

—AdL

Written on June 8th, 2014 , 5th Day Photography, Birds, Humor, Owls

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On the 5th Day Photography – Revealing God's nature in the Sonoran Desert

Nature Photography and Stories from the Sonoran Desert