Mark and Twinkle Schwend sent a photo Friday of what appeared to be a tired, dazed owl sitting on a pink towel. They said they found it hanging from plastic fencing surrounding their garden and then cut it free. They said in an email the owl remained there “hunkered down for about 20 minutes and flew off perfectly fine.”
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) confirmed the owl in the photo is an Eastern screech-owl, which is a small nocturnal owl with yellow eyes and ear tufts.
“They are fairly common in the Austin area and the smallest of the owl species for that part of the state,” a TPWD spokesperson said Friday.
These owls usually spend the daylight hours in a tree cavity or a hole created by a woodpecker or squirrel. At nighttime, they go hunting and capture most of their prey a few hours after nightfall, TPWD said.
A map from Texas A&M AgriLife Research shows there are confirmed reports of the Eastern screech-owl in all parts of Texas except for the far western part of the state, though most of those sightings are concentrated in central and east Texas.
A strong line of thunderstorms went through the Austin area starting on Thursday afternoon. People reported hail falling in areas stretching from Leander in Williamson County to places in Blanco County.
Travis Audobon recently shared what types of birds people can spot in May in its latest Central Texas bird forecast.