Northern Saw-whet Owl

    Related Articles


    The Northern Saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) is a very small, earless, yellow-eyed owl, brown above, streaked with white and rufous below. On average, Northern Saw-whet owls are about 8 inches in length and have a wingspan of about 20 inches. Thick feathers extend down on their feet, and due to their relatively short legs, they look a bit legless.


    Usually silent, in later winter and spring the Saw-whet owl utters a monotonous series of whistles. Saw-whet owls are almost entirely nocturnal, spending the day roosting quietly in dense foliage. At such times they are extraordinarily tame and may be approached closely or even handled.


    At night this tiny owl becomes a rapacious hunter, preying on mice and other small rodents. Thanks to its huge asymmetrical ear cavities, this species has remarkable hearing.

    Nesting Behaviour

    Saw-whet owls are quite tame and may nest on the edges of yards and towns. The female lays five or six eggs in an abandoned woodpecker hole, squirrel dens, hollow trees and stumps or artificial nest box. She sits on her eggs for about a month, then broods her nestlings for three weeks, while the male provides food consisting of deer mice, small birds and insects.

    The young leave the nest after four to five weeks. They close to the nest and are fed mainly by the male for another month or longer. The female may seek another male and raise another brood.


    They are preyed on by barred owls and great horned owls.

    Video Credits: Dominique Lalonde Films Nature
    Image Credits: CTolman


    1. Dana Gardner, Nancy Overcott – Fifty Uncommon Birds Of The Upper Midwest
    2. Charles Fergus, Amelia Hansen – Wildlife Of Pennsylvania And The Northeast


    Other Topics

    Scent Theory: Special Conditions

    On occasion, handlers will also encounter the following conditions when on a search. Looping Looping...


    Overview The cichlids are one of the most popular families of aquarium fish. This is despite the fact...

    Hokkaido (Ainu Inu)

    History & Overview The Hokkaido, also known as Ainu Inu and Hokkaido Ken, is a medium-sized Asian spitz....


    Overview Pantoea bacteria belong to a large group of organisms of the Enterobacteriaceae family, also called enteric bacilli. All...

    Brittany Spaniel

    History & Overview The Brittany, native to and very popular in France where it is called Epagneul Breton,...