From: <texbirds-bounce...> [mailto:<texbirds-bounce...>] On Behalf Of Kleb Woods (Commissioner Pct. 3)
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2018 5:02 PM
Subject: [texbirds] Re: Red Phase E. Screech Owl??
I was under the impression that in this instance “morph” comes from “morphology”, which is the form or structure of something. I believe the “morph” you are referring to is just a shorter way of saying metamorphose, which means to change form (the “change” part coming from “meta”).
I have read that “phase” was used originally and then, as you said, it was changed (mostly because people incorrectly thought “phase” implied impermanence).
This is all so interesting to me, so thank you all for responding!
Power rangers morph. Morph defines changing. As you morph from gray to red. Peterson spoke of phases that were permanent. But the fad of the month club decided that morph is best even though it is grammatically inaccurate. It was originally used for ants and wasps to describe workers, queens and drones who can be changed by diet. A dry wood termite colony that loses a queen can get a new queen by feeding a worker specially chewed food and it morphs into a queen.
Or to be grammatically accurate a red screech owl would morph to gray as it gradually replace the red feathers with gray feathers. But the color is genetically permanent based on the genes of the parent and the genes do not change nor does the color change.
On Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 2:24 PM, Jennifer Miller <foundnatureblog...><mailto:<foundnatureblog...>> wrote:
Interesting! I did not know about the controversy, but I prefer the term "morph", too. A very nice woman in Flower Mound north of Dallas/Ft Worth (don't want to give her name just in case) had both a gray and red morph in her backyard that she let me see a few years ago. It's the only red morph that I have ever seen.
On Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 2:08 PM, Keith Arnold <kbarnold2...><mailto:<kbarnold2...>> wrote:
Red morph/phases of the Eastern Screech-Owl are certainly not common, but we have a number of specimens in our collections. Fred Gehlbach once thought that this morph [my preference - I don't like the term form] occurred only in females, but we have red male specimens as well.
On Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 1:45 PM Kleb Woods (Commissioner Pct. 3) <KlebWoods...><mailto:<KlebWoods...>> wrote:
We have a rufous morph Eastern Screech-Owl that has used the same nest box for the last 3+ years at Kleb Woods Nature Center in Harris County. We saw downy chicks two years but couldn’t tell what color they would end up. However, that doesn’t really speak to how common they are, as that is the only rufous morph Eastern Screech-Owl I have seen.
On a side note (and this is definitely going down a rabbit hole, so feel free to ignore if it doesn’t interest you), I have always used the word “morph” when describing these color variations, but I know many use the term “phase” or “form”. I tried looking into it to see if one was more proper or preferred, but it appears to be more controversial than I thought! Does anybody here have thoughts on this? I always find these kinds of discussions enlightening. Also, while looking into this, I learned a new word: orismology. That is definitely going to be part of my vocabulary now!
Kendra Kocab, Naturalist
Kleb Woods Nature Center
Last night, while watching TV, a large bird flew into the patio glass door. It fell to the patio and I went to see if I could revive it--or keep it for a specimen for someone's lab. When I tried to pick it up, it revived and flew away. It was a Red Phase Eastern Screech Owl!
In all the years of birding, leading tours at Bentsen Rio Grande for ten years and living here in Texas, I had never seen anything but Grey Phase E. Screech Owls.
Is this a rare sighting only for me, or are they common?