Guest post by Heidi Trudell –
This afternoon (3/7/08) while heading back from work I spotted a lump of roadkill just off the shoulder of 351 and out of the kindness of his heart, my coworker obliged and we investigated the lump. Initially the lump looked like a clump of wood or Great-horned Owl, but Carson pointed out that it was too small and quite buffy. Sadly, I’ve never seen a live Long-eared Owl so I was hesitant to call it LEOW but nothing else would have been close. The whole critter is maybe half the size of a GHOW, has quite small talons, slender ear tufts, lemony yellow eyes, very heavily mottled back and wings and tail… The underwings are overall buffy with a distinct dark splotch near the “wrist.” It’s definitely an exciting bird for me, even if it’s not exactly countable – getting such close looks at fresh specimens of any species is exciting. Many thanks to Carson Brown, Laura Packer, Michael Retter and Jay Packer for their assistance in identifying, photographing, documenting and generally cooperating in getting the LEOW online and into the freezer!
***Please note that state & federal permits are required to pick up dead critters, the LEOW in question is under Texas A&M’s salvage permit and will end up in their collection. This is not to say that you should ignore fresh roadkill, but make sure that someone with permits is able to pick it up.
To see more pictures of this first Taylor County record (or until proven otherwise) click on the Long-eared Owl Photos.