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Museum Minute: Monte, The Eastern Screech Owl

Draper Natural History Museum

Eastern Screech Owls are found east of the Rocky Mountains of the continental divide. They do overlap a little with the Western Screech Owl, so they are very similar. The only way to tell the difference is the color of the beak. Eastern Screech Owls have a light, greenish tint to their beak while westerns have a darker beak. They both are small.

Monte is with the Draper Museum Raptor Experience because of a wing injury. She was a couple months old and just learning how to fly on her own when she was hit by an oncoming vehicle in Montana. Brandon Lewis, the live raptor program assistant manager, said that's actually how she got her name.

"She healed up all right, but because part of that wing is missing, she has very unstable flight and can't really last very long on her own due to poor flight. So that's why she's living with us," said Lewis.

Lewis said Monte will be three years old soon. Small birds usually live three to five years in the wild.

Lewis said Eastern Screech Owls have a distinct call.

"So most people think owls are going to hoot but the Eastern Screech Owl actually whinny's like a tiny horse," said Lewis. "So if you're wandering around in the woods at night, and you hear a high pitched neigh, most likely that is going to be an eastern screech owl.

Lewis said they are actually very noisy birds. They also hiss, chirp and make random noises to talk to each other and announce territories and so forth.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.