NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL

NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL(Aegolius acadicus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Northern Saw-whet Owl adult has a brown facial disk with white radiating stripes and a white ‘V’ between the eyes, which are yellow. The body is brown with some white spots, with under parts showing large brown and white stripes. The bill is black and the talons are covered with white feathers. Juveniles have warm brown under parts and brown upper parts without white spots. They already have the white ‘V’ between their eyes as well. It is a small owl at around 20 cm (8 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Aegolius-acadicus
NAME: The bird owes its English name to the sound of its call, similar to a saw being ground on a whetstone. The name ‘Owl’ is an onomatopoeia for the bird’s call and comes from Cockney. The Latin genus name ‘Aegolius’ refers to a bird of ill omen, and ‘acadicus’ refers to the fact that the first specimen was identified in the Maritimes (Acadie).
HABITAT: Mature forests, both coniferous and mixed.
DIET: Mainly mice and other small rodents. Small birds outside the breeding season.
NESTING: Nest in tree  holes (natural or excavated by woodpeckers), also attracted to human-made nest boxes. Around five white eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks fed by the female at first.
DISTRIBUTION: Year-round range covers most of Canada up to the tree line (except Newfoundland), the Great Lakes region and northeast USA, as well as parts of western USA. Winters in the remainder of the USA except Florida and south Texas, also in Mexico mountain forests.
DISTRIBUTION MAP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_saw-whet_owl#/media/File:Aegolius_acadicus_map.svg
ON PEI: Year-round resident on Prince Edward Island, common to fairly common.
CONSERVATION: Listed as ‘least concern’ by the IUCN, likely because it is difficult to assess its numbers due to its secretive nature. Some local declines due to habitat loss from logging. It is therefore important to leave large dead trees standing in a forest to provide them with nesting spots.
NOTES: These owls are true nocturnal birds of prey, which makes it difficult to find them.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Boreal Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Northern Hawk Owl
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_saw-whet_owl
https://www.mba-aom.ca/jsp/toc.jsp (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/northern-saw-whet-owl
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Saw-whet_Owl/id
https://hawkwatch.org/learn/factsheets/item/868-saw-whet-owl
https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/northern-saw-whet-owl
https://www.ealt.ca/species-spotlight-list/northern-saw-whet-owl (Edmonton and Area Land Trust)
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/northern-saw-whet-owl (Missouri Department of Conservation)

Northern Saw-whet Owl - Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Delta, BC - Feb. 8, 2008 - Brendan Lally
Northern Saw-whet Owl – Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Delta, BC – Feb. 8, 2008 – Brendan Lally
Northern Saw-whet owls, juveniles - Hancock Field Station, Oregon, USA - May 28, 2011 - Kathy & Sam
Northern Saw-whet owls, juveniles – Hancock Field Station, Oregon, USA – May 28, 2011 – Kathy and Sam

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