Photo: Hugh Bode
Imagine the stark terror one would feel upon walking into their screened porch, and unexpectedly coming face to face with this savage avian predator! OK, well, maybe if you were a white-footed mouse...
Hugh Bode popped into the porch of his Cleveland Heights home the other day, and was greeted by the placid stare of this unflappable little Northern Saw-whet Owl, Aegolius acadicus. The tiny hooter had somehow gotten itself into Hugh's porch, and was trapped. That temporary imprisonment may have been for the best. Hugh reports that a much larger owl glided by while he was admiring the saw-whet, and bigger owl species have no qualms about making meals of their smaller brethren.
Photo: Hugh Bode
If you've never seen a Northern Saw-whet Owl, you owe yourself the experience. To wax completely anthropomorphic, they're cute as a button. No bigger than a robin, and a fat one weighs about the same as a Blue Jay. Saw-whets may be the most abundant feathered predator in the vast boreal forest that blankets much of Canada and the northernmost United States. They're highly migratory, and this animal is en route to its northern breeding grounds. I've written about these owls a lot, and one of those posts is HERE.
After a brief admiration session, Hugh liberated the owl. Hopefully all will go well for it, and it will soon be back in ts remote forest of spruce and fir. Keep an eye to the grapevine tangles, and take a peek in any dense conifers you come across. Far more Northern Saw-whet Owls pass through the Midwest than most people could ever believe, and we're in their spring migratory passage right now.
Thanks to Hugh for sharing these great photos!