Sunday, February 1, 2015

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus

  From All About Birds: "A tiny owl with a catlike face, oversized head, and bright yellow eyes, the Northern Saw-whet Owl is practically bursting with attitude." Well said. This was a lifer for both Dan and I, and not an easy bird to see. Pocket-sized at 8 inches long (roughly Starling-sized!), we found this one leisurely eating a mouse in a small copse of conifers near the golf course on the island. We were quite fortunate to see it, as they're mostly nocturnal. Apparently they usually eat mice in two sittings, so perhaps we caught this one in the middle of a mid-day snack.
  We only spotted the owl when we were almost directly underneath it, and it was a memorable moment to watch this gorgeous little creature feed for 10 minutes. When the owl got to the mouse innards, the stomach popped and and the mouse poop came out in the owl's bill. It seemed to wince in disgust, and eventually coughed out a shiny black pellet. In a frustrating replay of the Barred Owl incident, this owl finally flew off when some photogs got too close, loud, and animated.

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