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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Listen for north Texas' most common owl.

Screech Owls
Listen carefully, and you may hear the call of north Texas' most common owl - the Eastern Screech Owl. If it's nightime, and you're in or near woods, listen for a tremulous horse whinney sound. Some call it a "screech", and others speculate it's the sound of heard by the rider in Washington Irving's tale, "Headless Horseman". Whatever it sounds like, it's not the "hoot-hoot" so often associated with owls. 

Eastern Screech Owl
Actually, the only owl in north Texas that "hoots" is the Great-horned Owl.  An adult Great-horned Owl may be 2-feet tall. On the other hand the Screech Owl is about 9 or 10 inches long, relying largely on excellent camoflage during the day, when it sleeps.

Other owls common here in north Texas are the Barn Owl and the Barred Owl.

You and your kids can look for bats when they're flying around - in the dark of night hunting bugs (The tiny animals are harmless to humans). Simply fasten a
piece of tracing paper over a normal flashlight lens. The light will then be dim enough to not be seen as troublesome to bats. Bats will still be able to detect tiny objects, very accurately, in the dark. And you'll be able to see them.

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