Posted by: atowhee | December 5, 2020


Have you ever been stared down by 2.5 ounces of ferocity? If not, you have yet to encounter the diurnal pygmy-owl out hunting juncos. Here’s one Marty Karlin faced in the Cascades east of Ashland recently:

Glaucidium gnoma. That’s this bird’s Latin binomial. Sometimes bird names are nonsense but not this time, He is a pygmy, less than 7 inches tall in a family that goes up to more than two feet high. Glaucidium means small glaring eyes. Gnoma, gosh, gotta go get goods (g)on (g)that (g)word–spirit or sprite. Gnome perhaps?
Still, despite his size he can, and will, kill birds bigger than himself.

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