by Mark E. Schrull
Update 2/5/14 – Apparently I was incorrect abut this bird being an owl. The kind naturalists at Lorain County Metro Parks identify this bird as a Red Shouldered Hawk. Thank you to them for the help.
2/3/14 Lorain, Ohio – Late this morning a Screech Owl began hunting in Lorain County Metro Park, Day’s Dam. Perched high in a tree over the main walking path, the Eastern Screech-Owl waited and watched for prey before flying off to hunt else where.
Around 11:00 AM EST, my wife alerted me she had spotted a large predator bird out in the park. He was too far away to identify with the naked eye.
Notice the ear tufts and the bars of brown across the under side of the tail. According to both reference books, these types of owls can range in color from variations of brown to mostly white, depending on the season and their environment. It is not uncommon to see them hunting during the day.
They are 9 to 10 inches tall, but I’d say this one was bigger. Perhaps 11 or 12 inches. ( I may be totally off on that. )
There are many species of owls which could also be this bird, but I’m thinking this is a Screech Owl. If my estimate of its height are off, it may be a Short Eared Owl, which range 13 to 17 inches tall, or even a Barred Owl which is 17 to 24 inches tall. I don’t believe it is a Great Horned Owl because, though large, the ears are not as prevalent as the images in the books. He does have brown bars on the underside of his tail. He could even possibly be a Northern Hawk Owl, but these usually live more north in Canada, according to the books.
If you feel my identification is incorrect, feel free to leave a comment.
The following books were used to help identify this bird.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds
(Eastern Region)/Bull and Farrand, Jr./Knopf
Birds of North America
Fred J. Alsop III/Smithsonian