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May 9, 2021

Bird of the Week – Northern Saw-whet Owl

We haven’t looked at an owl for a couple of years. Here’s a tiny little owl found in southcentral and southeastern Alaska, the Northern Saw-whet Owl.

Northern Saw-whet Owl, Eagle River, Alaska

Northern Saw-whet Owl, Eagle River, Alaska

This little owl is even smaller than the Boreal Owl, just 8 inches long. Males weigh about the same as an American Robin. Like the Boreal Owl, it’s a cavity nester, and accepts nest boxes like this one.

You won’t often see a Northern Saw-whet Owl; they are nocturnal, secretive and shy. But the strong white eyebrows you see here are a distinctive field mark. In the open, the bird looks top heavy with a comparatively big head on a tiny body.

The species’ prey are mice and voles, although this tough little bird can take chipmunks and smaller squirrels, too. This species migrates, but its winter grounds are not well understood.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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3 Responses to “Bird of the Week – Northern Saw-whet Owl”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    How do Saw-whet owls measure up to the little Screech Owls we have here in iowa? Screech Owls could be iowa corn fed, but, they aren’t.

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