Spotted owls make a comeback; more than 1,500 in Mysuru

Birds are the most beautiful creatures with their colourful feathers and their chirping. Coming into selected species we see number of birds and their different habitats in them.

Sadly many people still believe that the spotted owl is unlucky and irksome.

Spotted Owl (Athene Brama) is a small owl that which breeds in tropical Asia from India to Southeast Asia. They are often very common species and have adapted to living in cities.

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Nikhil Nanjundaswamy

Its eye with yellow iris and black eye ball makes them cute. As Mysuru is one of the greenest cities, it is a haven for birds and there is a marked increase in owl population in Mysuru.

The spotted owl prefers rock caves, cliffs, and small holes in tree side branches. And they have also been found closer to buildings since they get food.

Areas like Vijayanagar, Dattagalli, Maharanis College Campus, Chamundi Hills, Kukkarahalli Lake, Maharaja’s College campus and the green stretch around the zoo, Karanji Lake and Lalitha Mahal road are some of localities we find the spotted owls. They, however, avoid thick jungles.

Earlier, the bird was spotted at isolated stretches and corners. But now, to my knowledge, there are more than 1,500 spotted owls in Mysuru district.

Spotted owl is a stocky bird. Its upper parts are greyish-brown, highly spotted with white colour. Lower parts are white in colour, streaked with brown. The facial round disc type is pale in colour. They always roost in small groups in hollows trees, crevices found in rock cliffs, non-functional irrigational wells and in buildings like colleges. They lay 3-4 eggs and nest near human habitat due to the availability of rodents to feed and feed their young ones.

The species is nocturnal but also seen in the day. When they are disturbed from their daytime site, they bob their head and stare at intruders and do certain acts.

As per a study, high melatonin level is associated when they sleep and low levels are associated with high alertness and foraging activity. Spotted owls however show only a slightly lower melatonin concentration at night time with a slight increase in the early afternoon.

As I went on searching species of birds, I sighted four species in Owl – spotted owl, brown fish owl, mottled wood owl, Indian eagle owl and barn owl. I managed to click few species of birds according to their habitat, behaviour and shyness.

The spotted owl lives nearer to outskirts of villages and cultivation, groves with old trees, and ruins.

I have noticed that they are very sharp in sleeping time and can attack Mynas entering their nest during day time. Their ecological behaviour is different from other birds. And it is also called resident raptor found all over India.

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