"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween

This burrowing owl is a permanent resident at the O.C. Bird of Prey Center.  Photo by Susan Brown Matsumoto
There's something magical about owls. Perhaps it's that they fly silently, killing prey in the dark using their acute hearing and keen eyesight.  It's no wonder this creature of the night has long been associated with Halloween. 

Of the 20 species that live in North America, less than half can be found regularly in Orange County. Barn owls, great horned owls and western screech owls are our most common year-round residents.

Burrowing owls were once plentiful in Orange County, but their numbers have declined significantly due to loss of habitat.  Other species visit Orange County, including northern saw-whet owls, long-eared owls and short-eared owls, which can be found in local canyons in fewer numbers, mostly in winter.  Until a few years ago, a small number of elusive spotted owls were recorded on Christmas bird counts in Orange County's more remote canyons. But they have disappeared since wildfires swept through the canyons, destroying their habitat.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!


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