The Indian Scops: Ghost of the city

The Indian Scops: Ghost of town

For many birders, the query, ‘Which is your favorite chicken?’ can usually induce a way of dread that makes them sweat profusely. For me, it doesn’t. I do know what my favorite chicken is: the owl. However I like all owls, so to select one is troublesome.

Should you’ve been following my articles from the very starting (can’t thanks sufficient!), you’ll do not forget that I started this collection with the Noticed Owlet, and shortly adopted it up with the Barn Owl. Right this moment’s highlight is on the Indian Scops Owl.

My first encounter with this chicken was means again in June, 2013 (my wee years of birdwatching), when one night, a pal, Soma, advised me about this household of 5 owls — two adults and three juveniles — in her yard in Malibu City, Gurugram. I rushed there the subsequent morning and managed to search out all 5 on an impressive Saptaparni tree. With butterflies in my abdomen and a heartbeat that refused to decelerate, I knew then that this was a particular encounter.

The Indian Scops Owl is sort of a typical species (not as frequent because the Noticed Owlet although), in city developments however has learnt to camouflage and conceal from civilization for its security. Greater than being seen, they’re heard with a feeble whuk of a frog-like name. Most birdwatchers have a tendency to listen to them first and see them later nevertheless it was the opposite means round for me. I didn’t hear this chicken till later that year on a darkish winter morning whereas on a run at Lodhi Gardens. Owls have a tendency to not name after dawn, until troubled.

Not like the Noticed Owlet and Barn Owl, they’re typically discovered within the extra dense bushes, near tree barks or inside darkish tree hollows, which helps them camouflage, contemplating their brown physique color. It’s a widespread resident throughout forests and well-wooded areas of the Indian Subcontinent south of the Himalayas. In Delhi, you’ll see them in Vasant Kunj, Hauz Khas, the Ridge and different such biodiversity-rich areas.

On this small species (23-25 cm), people may be very variable in color from pale grey-brown to heat rufous brown with finely streaked underparts, a skinny black line across the facial disc, and darkish brownish-orange eyes. Its scientific title, Otus bakkamoena, has been derived from the Latin phrase otus, that means small-eared and bakkamoena from the Sinhala title Bakamuna for varied owls.

Not like the 2 different frequent species discovered within the metropolis, Noticed Owlet and Barn Owl, this chicken has two tufts of feathers on the highest of its head, very very like cat-ears. They’re the truth is referred to as ear-tufts nevertheless it’s baffling that these don’t have anything to do with owl’s precise ears.

The Indian Scops Owl is generally nocturnal, often sleeping throughout day and turning into lively within the late hours of the night, when it sits on bushes close to lampposts and hunts down small rodents and bugs. A eager eyesight and unbelievable sense of listening to makes owls formidable hunters. Their delicate, directional listening to usually leads them to their prey regardless that the latter could also be hid.

The household of Indian Scops Owl that I got here throughout at my pal’s was my first correct sighting of an owl. I spent a complete day taking notes on this species. Whereas the juveniles had been curious, the adults had been weary — sure, parenting is identical throughout species. There was by no means a time when an grownup was not watching and correcting these younger owls. The dad and mom took turns sleeping and taking good care of their younger — not a straightforward activity. One of many juveniles was as interested in us as I used to be about it, and it flew and perched on a door proper subsequent to my chair.

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