Friday, January 25, 2008

Surprise!



So were we! .... to find this amazingly cute little owl, a Northern Saw-whet Owl, so close at hand. (Actually, we didn't "find" it ... and we are deeply indebted to Paul O'Brien for sharing directions to the spot).

This guy? gal? is roosting in a spruce tree, on a branch about 8 feet up, that extends over a suburban sidewalk in Rockville, Maryland. It's almost literally right outside someone's door.

Warren did a little research and discovered that Saw-Whet Owls are actually more common than generally believed, and sometimes roost in parks and gardens, as low as 5 feet off the ground. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Saw-Whet Owls eat mice, especially deer mice, and they "usually are eaten in pieces in two different meals."

These pictures are not as good as they might be because a) Warren did not want to disturb the bird, as an earlier photographer had done, b) it was overcast and the bird was in a tree, c) Warren's fingers were so cold that his hands were shaking and d) he is not as good a photographer as he wants to be. Excuses!!!

What a rare treat to see an owl this close:

2 comments:

Helena said...

I keep hearin' about this little rockville dude through MDOsprey, can someone tell me the location?? I'll email you. I NEED TO SEE HIM!! :)

NW Nature Nut said...

How exciting! I am trying to coordinate an owl outing with some friends. I can't wait to see what we will find.