Species: Otus asio, Eastern Screech Owl • Hatch Year: Unknown • Gender: Male • Disability: Beak Injury
‘Gimli’ was hit by a car, resulting in a massive beak injury that required several months in the rehab facility at the American Eagle Foundation. He was unable to eat properly for quite some time, and was deemed non-releasable. In 2016 he made his Dollywood debut and became a crowd favorite.
ABOUT THIS SPECIES
Eastern Screech Owls have been misnamed, because they don’t really screech at all. They have more of a wavering whistle. The Eastern Screech Owl is a short, stocky bird, with a very large head and virtually no neck. The colors of an Eastern Screech Owl vary from a reddish-brown to a grayish color. Their feathers are patterned with spots and bands that help to camouflage them when they are against the bark of a tree.
The ear tufts on top of their heads have nothing to do with their hearing; rather, they help to camouflage the bird when perched in a tree. The tufts, when erect, form a ‘V’ which mimics a forked branch in a tree, and in addition, when they erect the tufts of feathers, they are communicating with others of its species. Erecting the tufts also help frighten away potential enemies because it makes the owl appear larger.
In the wild, screech owls can live to be 10 years of age, and up to twice that in captivity.