Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)

After being found tangled in garden netting in New Mexico in 2017, this Western Screech Owl was rescued by On a Wing and a Prayer of Corrales, NM. Her right leg was caught pretty badly in the netting, she ended up with severe damage to her leg and toes, and even lost a couple of her talons. Her leg healed, but with those talons missing, and without full use of her foot, she would have a difficult time catching and holding onto her prey out in the wild. She was transferred to the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in December 2018 to be an education ambassador for her species. 

As a nestling in 2015, she had been caught in Sandia Park, NM, banded, and released as part of an owl surveillance study.

Western Screech Owls are found from the Colorado foothills west to the Pacific coast. In Colorado their range may slightly overlap with that of the Eastern Screech Owls. Distinguishing a Western Screech Owl from the grey morph Eastern Screech Owl can sometimes be a challenge. The easiest determination is based on the color of the beak and the sound of their call. The Western Screech Owl has a dark beak with a white line while the Eastern Screech Owl has a paler beak.

To view her television debut on 9-News please click here. Even a little owl gets 15 minutes of fame.

Her name “Zia” comes from the New Mexican sun symbol.