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Who's Who. Northern Saw-whet Owl

Meet the Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) with fierce vision, large eyes and a cute face. (This one was observed near Bozeman, Montana.)

Saw-whet Owl: Master of the Night with a Sharper-Than-Sharp Call!

Have you ever heard a spooky sound in the forest at night, like someone sharpening a saw? Well, don't worry, it's probably not a ghost (phew!). It might just be a tiny owl called the Saw-whet Owl. This little guy gets his name from his special alarm call, a high-pitched "skieeeeww" that sounds scarily similar to a sawblade being sharpened on a whetstone. Not exactly the most musical songbird, but hey, it gets the job done – scaring away any threats!


Night Vision Ninja:

But the Saw-whet Owl isn't all about creepy calls. He's also a nighttime ninja with superpowers! His giant eyes (compared to his body size, that is) are like built-in night vision goggles, letting him see perfectly in the dark. This comes in super handy when he's out hunting for dinner.


Silent Strike:

Speaking of dinner, the Saw-whet Owl is a silent but deadly hunter. He perches on a low branch, patiently listening and watching for unsuspecting prey – maybe a juicy mouse or a sleepy beetle. His amazing hearing picks up the tiniest sound, and then, whoosh! He swoops down in a silent attack, using his sharp talons to snatch his meal.


Leftovers? No Problem!

Unlike some picky eaters, the Saw-whet Owl isn't one to waste food. If he catches something bigger than a quick bite, he'll store the leftovers for a later snack. Think of him as a tiny feathered refrigerator with excellent taste in snacks! Remember the Saw-whet Owl – a tiny terror with a big personality (and an even bigger appetite!).

The Saw-whet Owl: A Tiny Hunter with a Sharpened Voice

Have you ever heard a whispery "skieeww" echoing through the twilight woods? That's the Saw-whet Owl, a little ball of feathers with a surprisingly big voice. Their name itself is a melody, inspired by the way their call mimics the sharpening of a saw. But don't be fooled by their sweet song, for these pint-sized hunters pack a punch!


With eyes like golden coins shining in the dark, Saw-whet Owls are masters of the night. Perched low on a branch, they transform into silent statues, waiting patiently. Their incredible hearing picks up the tiniest rustle, and their sharp eyes pierce the darkness. Then, with a burst of silent wings, they swoop down, silent assassins in the moonlit forest.


Sharp talons snatch their prey – mice, voles, and other small creatures that scuttle through the undergrowth. The Saw-whet Owl tears its dinner into bite-sized pieces, a testament to their powerful beaks. And if they catch a particularly hefty prize? They'll tuck it away for a later snack, a clever strategy for these resourceful birds.


But beneath their fierce hunting spirit lies a touch of undeniable cuteness. Their round heads with black beaks and bright yellow eyes soften their gaze. Their plumage, a beautiful blend of reddish browns and soft creams, adds another layer of charm.


So, the next time you hear a haunting "skieeww" in the stillness of the night, remember the Saw-whet Owl – a tiny hunter with a voice as sharp as its skills, and a heart that might just be a little bit cuddly.


What else you should know:

  • Saw-whet Owls are very well camouflaged, making them even harder to spot in the wild.

  • They are mostly solitary creatures, except during breeding season.

  • Despite their small size, they are fierce predators and can take down prey much larger than themselves.

  • Some Saw-whet Owls migrate south for the winter, while others stay put in their year-round territories.



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