Northern Saw-whet Owl
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General description.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl, a small bird of the owl family, is one of the smallest owls in the world. Birders may notice the lack of noticeable ears on this bird. This little bird got its name from its call which sounds like a saw getting sharpened. The Saw-whet is more often heard than seen due to its camouflage and its ability to be perfectly still on the branch on which it is perching. When seen, this bird doesn't flee as many expect it to so those who have seen it may consider it tame. However, this bird is still a wild animal and should not be approached but, rather, viewed from a distance. The Saw-whet nests in either a cavity in a tree or a man-made birdhouse. Populations of this bird may be declining due to habitat loss and air pollution.

Female appearance.

Larger than male.

Juvenile appearance.

Darker overall appearance. The back of a juvenile Saw-whet is chocolate brown with white spots and the chest is cinnamon colored.

Flight pattern.

Direct. Flight is silent.

Breeding habits.


Calls or song.

too, too, too, too, too or sch-whet, sch- whet

Population and distribution.

Fairly common throughout central North America.

Nesting habits.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl nests in cavities or birdhouses and lays 4-7 white eggs.
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