Blue Hoo

What’s in a name, really?

This little fellow, formally known to us since 1867, has more names than you would imagine… the most common name, of course, is the Western Screech Owl, but some of the more fanciful names include Dusk Owl, Ghost Owl, Mouse Owl, Cat Owl, Little Cat Owl, and, well, let’s just say that the list is a really long one, shall we?

Like all birds of prey, size is no indication of hunting skill, and if you think the list of names for this fellow are long you should see their dinner menu… if it flies, hops, swims, crawls, slithers, creeps, or even moves, it is fair game. This little guy might only be a few inches tall, but, he is quite the accomplished hunter.

And talkative, too. The Screech doesn’t really “screech”, but does make the all too familiar soft and mellow “hoo-hoo-hoo” sound heard throughout western North America.

As you walk through the forest, just after sunset, and hear that familiar call, you’ll know a screech is close by. Maybe it is, in owl-speak, swearing up a blue streak. Maybe it is sounding out its territory. Or maybe, just maybe, it is saying its name (by whatever name it is called).

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