The Ijams red-phase Eastern screech-owl (Megascops asio) was the special guest at the Tellico Village Garden Club luncheon on Thursday.
I went along as Miss Screech's chauffeur, personal assistant and spokesperson. We presented a concise talk: Owl-ology 101 to the good garden clubbers about screech-owls in general and the other owl species found in East Tennessee.
Screech-owls are native to most wooded environs in the United States east of the Rockies, more so than any other owl. As a group they have adapted well to man-made development, wooded neighborhoods and parks, although they frequently avoid detection due to their petite size and nocturnal work habits. Where humans go, mice follow. Screeches eat the small rodents, and in the summer, large arboreal insects like cicadas.
Their vocal call is a mournful descending whinny, that is frankly a bit spooky and, oddly, they come in two colors, or morphologies. Like being blonde or brunette, it has nothing to do with gender, but they can be either a rusty red or a gray.
The screech-owl seemed to enjoy her visit, sleeping in the car on the drive to Loudon County and back. Her supper, a mouse, was waiting for her upon return to the nature center.
Thank you, Tim Pyles and the rest of the villagers for inviting us. I made my first presentation to the Tellico Village Garden Club on Thursday, January 8, 2004 and have visited the hospitable group for a chat every year since.
Afterwards, Tim wrote, "Another winner at Tellico Village. Your presentation in familiarizing us with the Owls in our neighborhoods was excellent. Your constant humor and little quips add some much to your presentation. You are quite knowledgeable with nature and our feathered friends and you do a excellent job of sharing and educating your audience.
We will look forward to another visit from you next year."
|Tellico Village Garden Club luncheon|
Here's a look back at my last visit, click: Wild Birds Unlimited.