Northern Saw-whet Owl : Everything You Need To Know

Saw-whet Owls are the smallest of North American owl species. They are often found at eye level in thickets but can also be found up to 20 feet high. They are at risk of being preyed on by larger owls or raptors. Northern saw-whet Owls are also migratory birds, but they don’t follow a specific pattern.
They have rufous, white, and brown plumage, with mottled brown streaking at the breast and brown tails that are adorned by three narrow white bars. While there are no differences between males or females in plumage, there is a significant difference in size. Females are about 25% larger than their male counterparts. This is reversed sexual dimorphism.

What does Saw Whet Owl mean

The name “SAW-WHET OWL” is derived in the “skiew” call heard when a wolf is. The sound is akin to the whetting sound of the saw. Females and males display similar plumage. However, females have more plumage.

When Norther Saw Whet Owl Hunt

You are aware that it is known that Northern Saw-whet Owl is a predator that hunts at night – it often is seen hunting in the dark of dawn and dusk. It is primarily hunted by small rodents like squirrels, deer mice, moles, and voles.

Can people locate this bird?

  • It’s difficult to spot the Northern Saw-whet Owl however you can be able to hear them from January through May in the forests of western and northern North America. You can hear a loud high, repetitive too-too-too call.
  • At times, these small owls, which are difficult to find, roost quietly in conifers that are dense. Your best chance to see the owls is by paying close attention to songbirds in small groups. If they spot an roosting saw-whet they’re likely to make an oomph, call and then fly at the owl until it flees.

Interesting Fact About Northern Saw-whet Owl :

  • The Northern Saw-whet Owl was named because it makes a sound that sounds like a saw being sharpened by a whetting stone, although there isn’t consensus on which one of its many calls gave rise.
  • Deer mice are the main prey of the Northern Saw-whet Owl. Adult mice are usually eaten in pieces by Saw-whets, and they eat them over two meals.
  • The incubation and brooding is done by the female Northern Saw-whet Owl, while the male hunts. The female will leave the nest when the youngest nestling is 18 days old to go roost somewhere else. The male continues to bring food which older nestlings might help feed their younger siblings.
  • Although the female saw-whet helps keep the nest clean, a lot of mess can build up when she leaves. The nest cavity is covered in feces, pellets and rotting prey pieces by the time the young owls leave it, which can take anywhere from 10 to 2 weeks.
  • Because of their reclusive, nocturnal behavior, migration in saw-whets is not well understood. Project Owlnet was established by researchers in the 1990s. It now includes more than 100 sites for owl migration banding. Researchers use the too–too-too cry to lure owls into mist nets and band thousands upon thousands of saw-whets each fall.

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