Calling All Bird Watchers
If you are a bird watching enthusiast, there is no doubt you will find the Mexican spotted owl and interesting bird. What makes this owl unique among owls is its dark eyes. The night bird, which displays white spots on its back, head, and breast blends well with the surrounding landscape, given its ash and chestnut colors. White thin bands mark the owl’s brown tails.
Where to Spot the Owls
Females among the birds measure larger than the males, standing about a foot and a half inch in height (about 45 centimeters.) Baby owls of this type convey a downy and soft appearance. When they appear in the Grand Canyon, the birds are seen inside caves and on cliff edges of narrow side canyons. These birds do not build nests but instead use caves, platforms on cliffs, or cavities in trees for their homes. They may also “borrow” the stick platforms created by other birds.
If you see one of these night-loving birds in the day, you have definitely made a rare find. The birds are the most active after sunset and are hard to spot in the day because their coloring and markings conceal their identity.
More About the Mexican Spotted Owl
Food for these predatory birds includes woodrats, pocket gophers, and mice. You can hear the owls’ mating calls or vocalizations primarily from March through June. The bird’s four-note hoots typically ring out at sunset or just before sunrise.
Mexican spotted owls lay up to four eggs per year. After the eggs hatch, chicks start flying at 45 days old and begin hunting when they are 70 days old.
Of all the Grand Canyon animals, the Mexican spotted owl is not only an interesting bird to view, but one that is unique among its species.
Other Birds Who Call the Grand Canyon Home
Other Grand Canyon birds include some of the rarest birds in the world. The Mexican spotted owl is included in this group. Other rare species include the Southwestern willow flycatcher, the California condor, the Western yellow-billed cuckoo, and the Yuma clapper rail.
The California condor, which is both endangered and rare, also ranks as the largest bird on the North American continent. Many of the threatened breeds live along the Colorado River and its tributaries. One example of riparian and rare birds is the Southwestern willow flycatcher. Another bird, the Western yellow-billed cuckoo, regularly breeds along Southwest rivers and streams.
If you are a birding enthusiast, you can obtain a checklist of birds to take with you to Grand Canyon National Park. A full list provides bird categories, the order, and scientific name. Common names are listed along with each bird’s occurrence in in the park. Birds are also listed as being rare, uncommon, or common to the habitat. Native species are indicated too.