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ID this critter in our squirrel den?

Posted by davek913 Z5 Northern IN (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 2, 08 at 0:56

Noticed this little fellow in our one squirrel house yesterday afternoon. At first glance(About 50 feet away and fifteen feet up, through the snow) I thought it was an owl but then I thought "No, it's head is too small".

Ran in and got the camera and got two less than perfect pictures of it. Thought maybe it was a flying squirrel but the head seems too round. For perspective, the hole he's in is about 3 inches in diameter. I can't decide if he's got his whole body in the hole, perched on the bottom of it or not.

Just last week there was a squirrel in there. Earlier yesterday I thought I saw something poking above the bottom of the hole that wasn't the light brown of the squirrel but was more gray. The only time I've ever seen anything other than a squirrel in there was a couple of years ago when some cowbirds checked it out temporarily.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: ID this critter in our squirrel den?

It is an Eastern screech owl. They do need roosts.

RE: ID this critter in our squirrel den?

I've heard a lot of reports from people getting them around houses and in birdhouses with a large diameter hole around this time of year. I think they look for better protection during the cold weather so people see even more of them.

You're lucky to have one, though!

RE: ID this critter in our squirrel den?

Thanks to you both. My initial reaction was an owl but when I saw the picture on the camera I thought the eyes looked smallish for an owl, besides its head seeming so small relative to the hole. I didn't factor in the different types of owls. I've lived here ten years and it's the first owl I've seen in that time. It's not at all uncommon to hear them but you never see one.

I think it's neat and it's got me looking up there each afternoon hoping for another peek so I could maybe take another picture. It was snowing pretty decent that day and between that and the distance it threw the focus off. I even have the camera sitting near the back door.:-)

RE: ID this critter in our squirrel den?

From what I've seen they do use the same roosting areas frequently. I wouldn't be surprised if it's in the box again, but whether or not you catch it coming in and out.... they also move around even during the day. For exampple, I was at a roosting spot at 2pm one day and say the owl, the person who went by at 11 am missed it because it was somewhere else.

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