Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?


I have been a regular reader of the JofA for the last 30 years, but this is my first time sending in a message. However, my question does not relate to any of the articles. My question is: What kind of owl is depicted on the cover of your March 2008 issue, and where can I see a live one like it?

I am a novice bird-watcher in my spare moments and have many birds yet to add to my life list, especially owls. I searched through my bird reference books—Kenn Kaufman’s, National Geographic ’s, Sealy’s and Peterson’s—and could not come up with the name of that owl. Owls are tough to identify unless you hear them, too. Have you thought of adding sound to the JofA?

Perhaps it is not a North American bird species. Maybe as part of some international accounting convergence project you are depicting a non-North American bird in the spirit of international cooperation. I am only familiar with North American birds. Or, perhaps it is an immature owl, and its coloration and identification points are not available yet.

I searched through the JofA for a reference to the cover picture but did not find such reference. I read through the three articles seemingly related to the picture—corporate turnarounds, voluntary IRS disclosures and disaster recovery—and did not find a reference to the picture.

I finally asked our IT director what type of bird she thought it was, being that she is also a longtime avid reader of the JofA, especially the “Technology Q&A” section, and she did not know either.

But she is the reason for this request. She has a fifth-grader at home, and she is in the process of taking the JofA back home for him to make an identification of the bird on the cover. So, if I want to be smarter than a fifth-grader, I need your response post haste.

Ronald A. Yarsevich, CPA
Potterville, Mich.

Editor's note: Ten-year-old Jonathon Jacobs, a fifth-grader at Washington Woods Middle School in Holt, Mich., correctly identified our cover model as a fledgling great horned owl. According to Colleen Olfenbuttel, a biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, you can tell the owl is young by the downy covering on its head. Young great horned owls have black bills and brownish masks, and their overall color can vary, depending on region. Great horned owls are found throughout North America and in South America.


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