July 5, 2005
- Weber Canyon, Weber
County, Utah - ©Nicky Davis
Notice how well this owl is disguised in the 4th
photo. The owl
in the 3rd photo seemed to have a wing that had some problem
although he had no trouble flying. The sexes are
alike in appearance
although the male and female can be distinguished by call (the female
has a higher pitched call).
Named for the rufous outer scapular
feathers that make the streak of flame on either side of their back,
the 6.75" Flammulated Owl is one of the
most common owl species in Utah in the
right habitat. The owl breeds in mid- to high-elevation mature aspen
where Northern Flickers have excavated nest cavities. Flammulated Owls
insectivorous and therefore, highly migratory. The males arrive back in
Utah from their wintering grounds in Central America in early to
They return to last year's territory and begin to sing and defend the
from other males. Females return to the previous year's territory about
week later. If the female doesn't find a mate present, she'll quickly
with one of her unmated neighbors.
Flammulated Owls usually lay 2-3 eggs in abandoned woodpecker holes
hatch in just over 3 weeks. During this time, the males sing the most
can be attracted to a recorded call presumably to defend their
against intruders. Once the eggs hatch singing of mated males is
dramatically reduced as their role as provider takes precedence. During
incubation stage, males deliver 3-4 prey items per hour to females.
the eggs hatch, prey deliveries increase to 9-10 items per hour. Most
clutches fledge two birds and then the family splits up. The male sees
the needs of one owlet and the female sees to the needs of the other.
By October, Flammulated Owls migrate south. The young do not return to
their natal territories.
Information sourced from 'Flammulated Owls (Otus flammeolus) Breeding
Deciduous Forests', Dr. Carl Marti, 'North American Owls: Biology and
Natural History', Dr. Paul A. Johnsgard, and 'Flammulated Owl' in The
of North America, D. A. McAllum.