Original post – 04 Oct 2021
by Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation, Madden, Alberta
Only around the size of an adult human’s fist, saw-whet owls possess excellent hearing and low light vision. They are strictly nocturnal, and at night these miniature owls become winged terrors, swooping down on their prey from a low perch along the forest edge. Deer mice, shrews and voles are all on the menu, but saw-whet owls will supplement their diet with beetles, grasshoppers, moths and bugs. Daylight hours are for sleeping, and these owls keep well hidden from view, perched motionless in thick vegetation. They are usually found close to the trunk of a conifer tree, about 3 metres off the ground. Their plumage provides excellent camouflage, and if threatened, they “freeze” in order to appear like a branch or bump.