TR Photoshoot: Eastern Screech-Owl #1

I went over to the TR Sanctuary a couple days ago to help out with a couple of things. At some point I learned that the Eastern Screech-Owls (EASOs) are molting and so I thought it would be a good opportunity for a photoshoot.

I chose EASO #1, a prime specimen of Megascops asio asio. We just recently decided to take some measurements of EASO #1 to see if we could more certainly determine his sex, and of course the results were inconclusive (but leaning toward male). This Owl lives at the Sanctuary due to an eye injury and probable brain damage (my guess is due to an automobile collision). Unfortunately, the eye injury alone makes this guy unreleasable as he would be unable to fly, hunt, or evade predators.

Possibly as a result of the brain injury, he is a fairly calm Owl and was willing to be photographed for five minutes or so. In the following photos, the molt of his facial feathers is quite obvious (as are the pin-feathers that are growing back in) and, in my opinion, he appears rather Furby-like.

Finally, at the end, I have included two photos of my wife. She happened to be walking by with the Broad-winged Hawk (BWHA) and I couldn’t resist snapping a couple shots. The BWHA will be the subject of a future photoshoot.

EASO #1 on the glove

This overhead view shows the extent of molt
Here you can (sort of) see the ear hole on the side of the head

#1 looking to the skies

My wife, Anne, and the BWHA

3 thoughts on “TR Photoshoot: Eastern Screech-Owl #1

  • August 2, 2010 at 07:45

    Great shots, Jason. But their genus has beed changed to Megascops.

  • August 2, 2010 at 10:31

    It’s been changed. New World Otus Owls were split off to Megascops in 2003. This split occurred once before, as a matter of fact, in 1848. In the early 1900s, the genera were re-lumped and stayed that way for a long while.

  • February 5, 2011 at 17:10

    Jason, Should have commented about this when I first looked at these pictures. It is neat that almost all of the head feathers molted at the same time as you can see things on the owl that you would never be able to see weel such as the ears and how big the eyes are in comparison to the skull. But the other thing that should also probably be noted is that although some owls molt many of their head feathers at the same time, it is probably most often seen in injured or owls in captivity. This particular owl has molted very heavily in comparison to any I have seen previosly. I do not think I have ever seen such a heavy molt and this years is more heavy then last years for this particular owl.

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