Starting this blog must have pleased the birding gods. Tonight, the Core Team got a great look at a bird we’ve wanted to see for a long time — the Eastern Screech-Owl.

We were out for a walk through a stretch of woods along the Hudson River called Riverdale Park. As our bird watching has grown more avid, our walks have become somewhat slower. This is something of a problem. Therefore, we went out without binoculars or field guide. Of course, you can see where this is going.

We had left the woods and were walking on the other side of the fence bordering the park when we heard an unfamiliar bird call. I should point out that, at this stage in our birding careers, most calls are unfamiliar. We stopped to spot the source of the commotion when Sara spotted an unmistakable silhouette on a branch no more than 20 feet away. It was without a doubt an owl!

This owl had distinctive ear tufts and great markings. It also twisted its head in that manner that only owls can. Even in the gloom of twilight, we could tell that it was in its gray phase. It was small, probably only 8″ or so. For a good 3 or 4 minutes, we admired it while it scrutinized us. Then, it took off into the trees.

This was a sweet sighting. We love owls, but haven’t had much luck spotting them. Even without our field guide, we knew that it was a screech-owl. But if only we had the binoculars…

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.