The newly-discovered species, named the Desert Tawny Owl, belongs to the earless owl genus, Strix.
It is a medium-sized owl, 30 to 33 centimeters long, and weighing 140 to 220 grams.
It resembles the Hume’s Owl (Strix butleri) and the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) in plumage pattern and proportions.
The species’ scientific name, Strix hadorami, honors Israeli ornithologist and writer Hadoram Shirihai.
“It is a special pleasure to name this bird for Hadoram Shirihai, a much-valued colleague and collaborator for 20 years,” Dr Schweizer and his colleagues wrote in a paper in the journal Zootaxa.
“Although Hadoram’s ornithological interests are staggeringly wide-ranging, his name is arguably particularly synonymous with this wonderful owl of wild places in the Middle East.
He discovered, when still a young boy, a live but poisoned specimen (of the Desert Tawny Owl) in En Gedi, which became the first individual to be held in captivity and is now a skeleton in the Tel Aviv University Museum.”
Leaving the nest can be hard — luckily these two baby owls got some human help after their first attempt at flight didn’t exactly pan out.
The fledgling Western screech owls were brought to WildCare, a wildlife rehabilitation center outside of San Francisco.
The babies were brought to WildCare’s animal hospital “after their inaugural flight resulted in one fledgling crash landing on the ground, and the other being attacked by Scrub Jays who are nesting in a neighboring tree,” the group said on Facebook last week.
A checkup determined the little owls were OK, and after a WildCare volunteer went back to the nest to make sure Mom and Dad were still there, the babies were ready to go back home.