The nine baby owlets that arrived at WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital a couple weeks ago – originally thought to be great horned owls – are actually of the screech variety.
The screech owl, while prominent in the Midwest and the East, is extraordinarily rare on this side of the country, according to a press release from WSU.
The hospital has not seen a baby screech owl for at least 10 years. Due to the hospital’s unfamiliarity with screech owls, workers there reached out to owl experts across the nation for insight about what kind of owlets they had in their custody. The “keen eye” of two bird authorities located in the Midwest caused Nickol Finch, who oversees the hospital’s Raptor Rehabilitation Center, to conclude that they were screeches.
Screeches are smaller than their great horned counterparts, and they camouflage themselves from humans by blending in with tree bark and nesting burrowed in tree cavities, according to zoologist Stacy Campopiano of Canada’s Owl Foundation.