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"Screech-owls are cute — with stubby little bodies, poky little ear tufts, huge round eyes, and what looks like an expression of perpetual surprise on their face. Come nightfall, though, and they’re every bit as ferocious as they are cute, hunting down crickets, beetles and small rodents. But that’s not all…Usually, the owls kill their prey before bringing it home. But if they’re lucky enough to capture the little, worm-like reptiles known as blind snakes, they deliver them to the chicks alive and wriggling.
Some are gulped down immediately, but others have time to escape by burrowing beneath the wood chips, pellets, and other litter strewn across the floor of the nest. These survivors feed on the insect larvae they find there – larvae that would otherwise parasitize the owl nestlings.
A study conducted by Baylor University scientists found that screech-owl chicks grew faster and healthier in nests kept vermin-free by these … domesticated … blind snakes. Now that’s what I call service."
To listen to the whole podcast, and for links to additional resources, head on over to BirdNote!
is a unique natural resource for the communities of Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge
and home to hundreds of species, including hawks, coyotes beavers, snapping turtles, wild turkeys and muskrats,
the reservation is a unique natural resource for the community.
Historical information (Powerpoint)
Interactive map with directions
Friends of Alewife Reservation works to protect and restore this wild area and the surrounding area for the water quality, native plants, animals and over 90 bird species with paths for walking, running and biking, recreation, and for classroom education and research. We regularly steward and preserve the Reservation area for wildlife and for the enjoyment of present and future generations.