Posted by: atowhee | December 6, 2018


Today the NPR program “Here and Now” carried a feature on research into the Saw-whet Owl.  The field team catching banding these little guys happened to be in upstate New York.  Click here for the radio segment.

These guys are found in dense forests across North America.  Not rare, but little studied, this owl represents a wide gap in our knowledge.  Birds of North America online opens its description of the species with “much remains to be learned about its populations, distribution and movements, behavior, and breeding biology.”

We do know it is a nocturnal mouser.  Eight inches tall, seventeen inch wingspan, making it slightly smaller than that the more urbanized screech-owl.
Full official name: Northern Saw-whet Owl.  Name presumably comes from somebody thinking in sounded like a hand saw being whetted with a whetstone.

Below is range map from BNA; some of the population migrates.  One year a saw-whet spent its winter in Sutro Heights Park overlooking the Pacific in San Francisco.  I would often see that bird on evening dog walks.  A forest bird by the seaside, temporarily.

owl map

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