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The Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) is on the smaller side, as far as owls go—reaching about 10″ in height at adulthood; but it still maintains that stately owl dignity. Like all owl species, the Screech Owl can not turn its eyes within its sockets, but instead will rotate its head as much as three-quarters of the way around its body to get a better look. And like other owls, they are stealthy hunters, using their keen hearing and eyesight to locate prey in the still of the night. Their specialized feathers with fringes of varying softness, as well as their broad wings and light bodies make them nearly silent in flight. Screech owls mate for life after an elaborate courtship ritual takes place.[1] The pair will generally produce only a single brood per year.

A rather intriguing symbiotic relationship has been observed in Screech Owls in Texas. In a number of cases researchers have observed the owls bringing live Texas blind snakes to their nest cavities where the snakes will then live and eat parasites, larvae and other insects afflicting the chicks in the nest. The snake will leave the nest once the chicks take flight.[2]

The original work is available for purchase on Etsy.

© 2011 Ashley P. Halsey

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This Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) is a little shy. Unlike other land turtles, box turtles have the unique ability to close their shells completely because of a hinged shell. They have a wide range from the northeast through the mid-west and south. Box turtles are extremely long lived – often living over 50 years. As a result, they are slow to mature and reproduce. Habitat destruction and fragmentation threatens the box turtle today. They can be found in any number of habitats, but generally they stick with moist forest floors and open pastures.

Prints of this work are available for purchase on Etsy.

© 2011 Ashley P. Halsey

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