This morning when I first caught a glimpse of this little one through the fog I thought I was just seeing a leaf in the top of a bare chokecherry. He is about the size of a sparrow and weighs only two ounces.
(If you are interested, you can find more information about him here .)
What a sweet little bird! I love owls, but we have mostly the bigger ones here; great horned owls, barn owls, barred owls, and snowy owls. I saw a pair of small ones many years ago that I thought might be burrowing owls, or something that size and shape, but haven’t seen any lately. The great horneds around our place have sure taken care of the feral rabbit population, but unfortunately (I believe) they are also responsible for the decline in pheasant and quail numbers. I would LOVE to have seen this little pygmy owl with my own eyes!
We also have the large ones, although I seldom see one of them. There are even some snowy owls that visit not far from here. These tiny ones are just so cute, and not at all rare. They are so small though that they are usually overlooked. I really wasn’t sure this was an owl until I went back to the house and mounted my longer lens and saw him through that.
Yes, what eyes! You are right about the gift, too, a gift of wonder and humility. Measured by weight, I am 1,640 times his size and yet I cannot even approach the way he lives his life in harmony with the natural world.
You know, these shots are examples of the old saying that “it’s always worth a try”. It was so dark with the fog that I thought there was no chance at all of getting a photo so I tried the best thing I could figure out; got as close as I could (about 20 feet) and used the on-camera flash. There must have been just barely enough light from the flash.
I had not seen one until two or three years ago either. They have a fairly limited range and they are just so small that they are easy to overlook. I hope you do get to see one, but you live a ways to the east of their range!
Those are amazing shots of a bird seldom seen. I had someone tell me there was an owl in a tree one day but by the time I got there it was gone. This person had a dog on a leash and said the owl just sat there for quite a while, not bothered at all by the sight of the dog.
What a sweet little owl, -I´ve never heard about such a tiny owl-, and what a great photo, that look…it´s priceless. How can you get such a clear photo when not prepared, do you have all your camera stuff ready in by the window case something happens?
I remember when you posted a photo of one a year or two ago. I had never heard of this tiny owl before then. I went and read about them on the link you posted. Pretty amazing they can kill birds and animals twice their size!
Isn’t it amazing that something so small can cope so well and appear so fierce? I saw on your link that this owl overlaps territory in Arizona with the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, which I believe is relatively common in South Texas. I saw one there a few years ago, near the McAllen/Brownsville area. An aunt and uncle used to spend the winter there, and one of the owls was living (or hanging out) in a tree close to their RV.
When you find something like this, do you find it hard to leave? I could spend hours looking at something like this little wonder – if he’d allow.
I guess our imagined standards of fragility don’t apply very well to the world of small creatures. As with many of my encounters with wildlife, I stayed as long as he would tolerate and he left but I think not in fright. I was so impressed with his attitude; he just exuded confidence and self control. Such encounters are very memorable for me, and actually some of my favorite ones!
He’s darling! I didn’t know they made them so small (haha). I always worry that if an owl shows up I’ll need to worry about my outdoor cats but I guess one the size of a sparrow couldn’t do much damage. I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas, Terry!