|Northern Saw Whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) |
Cuter than cute can be, but this little night bird is a lethal hunter and can dispatch prey in one swoop and strike.
Is that bird tame?
Because Saw Whet Owls' primary defense is to remain motionless, they appear to be tame, but don't be fooled. They really are wild birds (just ask a mouse). Their "tameness" however, is legendary, and researchers report of being able to walk right up to one and pick it up off a branch. The diminutive owl is so calm around humans it appears to have no fear and even seems curious about us!
|...those eyes, those fluffy feathers, that tiny little rectangular body....there's no doubt this pint-sized nocturnal hunter graduated from the Institute of Cute, but looks can be deceiving--there's might and fright behind all of that fluff...|
|A Northern Saw Whet Owl rests in a soft bag waiting to be banded. We were able to watch Dave band three Saw Whet Owls and one Eastern Screech Owl.|
|...getting ready to place the band on the owl's leg.|
|...the eyes of a Northern Saw Whet Owl look on patiently.|
|If you look closely, you can see the frayed edges of the owl's wing feathers. This unique adaptation is what gives them their silent flight. The trailing feathers are fringed and tattered and break up the sound waves generated as air flows over the top of the wings and forms downstream wakes (click here for an earlier post about Barn Owls that talks about this adaptation).|
|It was cold that night, but my giant snow parka kept me warm. The little owl felt like a ball of warm fluff in my hands. She was so gentle and never took her eyes off me. I can't describe how amazing it felt to hold this little wild creature.|
click here. From their website: "AREI is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the preservation of avian populations. Our mission is to protect and conserve avian populations through research, education and advocacy. To this end, AREI is committed to establishing biological stations that will provide bird banding and environmental education to the public."